Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (February 18, 1853 – September 21, 1908) was an American art historian of Japanese art, professor of philosophy and political economy at Tokyo Imperial University. An important educator during the modernization of Japan during the Meiji Era, Fenollosa was an enthusiastic Orientalist who did much to preserve traditional Japanese art.
Fenollosa was born in 1853 as the son of Manuel Francisco Ciriaco Fenollosa, a Spanish pianistborn in Málaga in 1818, and Mary Silsbee. He attended public schools in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts before studying philosophy and sociology at Harvard College, where he graduated in 1874.
He studied for a year at the art school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, during which time he married Elizabeth Goodhue Millett. In 1878 he was invited to Japan by American zoologist and Orientalist Edward S. Morse. Fenollosa taught political economy and philosophy at the Imperial University at Tokyo. There he also studied ancient temples, shrines and art treasures with his assistant, Okakura Kakuzō.
During his time in Japan, Fenollosa helped create the nihonga (Japanese) style of painting with Japanese artists Kanō Hōgai (1828–1888) and Hashimoto Gahō (1835–1908). In May 1882 he delivered a lecture on "An Explanation of the Truth of Art", which was widely circulated and quoted.
After eight years at the University, Fenollosa helped found the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and the Tokyo Imperial Museum. He served as director of the latter in 1888. In this period, he helped to draft the text of a law for the preservation of temples and shrines and their art treasures.
Deeply influenced by living in Japan, Fenollosa converted to Buddhism; he was given the name Teishin. He was also granted the name Kano Eitan Masanobu, placing him in the lineage of the Kanō school, who had served as painters to the Tokugawa shoguns. While resident in Japan, Fenollosa conducted the first inventory of Japan's national treasures. This resulted in the discovery of ancient Chinese scrolls, which had been brought to Japan by traveling monks centuries earlier. He was able to rescue many Buddhist artifacts that would otherwise have been destroyed under the Haibutsu kishaku movement. For these achievements, the Emperor Meiji of Japan decorated Fenollosa with the Order of the Rising Sun and the Order of the Sacred Treasures.
Fenollosa amassed a large personal collection of Japanese art during his stay in Japan. In 1886, he sold his art collection to Boston physician Charles Goddard Weld (1857–1911) on the condition that it go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1890 he returned to Boston to serve as curator of the department of Oriental Art. There Fenollosa was asked to choose Japanese art for display at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He also organized Boston's first exhibition of Chinese painting in 1894. In 1896, he published Masters of Ukiyoe, a historical account of Japanese paintings and ukiyo-e prints exhibited at the New York Fine Arts Building.
But he divorced his wife. His immediate remarriage in 1895 to writer Mary McNeill Scott (1865–1954) outraged Boston society. Fenollosa was dismissed from the Museum in 1896.
He returned to Japan in 1897 to accept a position as Professor of English Literature at the Tokyo Higher Normal School at Tokyo. Lafcadio Hearn considered Fenollosa a friend; and Hearn almost believed that he visited the professor's home too often.
In 1900, Fenollosa returned to the United States to write and lecture on Asia. His 1912 work in two volumes concentrates on art before 1800. He offers Hokusai's prints as a window of beauty after Japanese art had become too modern for his own taste: "Hokusai is a great designer, as Kipling and Whitman are great poets. He has been called the Dickens of Japan." Arthur Wesley Dow said of Fenollosa that "he was gifted with a brilliant mind of great analytical power, this with a rare appreciation gave him an insight into the nature of fine art such as few ever attain".
After his death in London in 1908, Fenollosa's widow entrusted his unpublished notes on Chinese poetry and Japanese Noh drama to noted American poet Ezra Pound. Together with William Butler Yeats, Pound used the notes to stimulate the growing interest in Far Eastern literature among modernist writers. Pound subsequently finished Fenollosa's work with the aid of Arthur Waley, the noted British sinologist.
Fenollosa's body was cremated in London. By his request, his ashes were returned for burial to the Hōmyō-in chapel of Mii-dera (where he had been tonsured), high above Lake Biwa. His tombstone was paid for by the Tokyo School of Fine Arts.
At a Harvard lecture of 2011, Benjamin Elman refers to the Epochs of the Chinese and Japanese Art (1912) where Fenollosa compares "degeneration" of the late imperial Chinese art to that which befell the high antique art of Europe in Byzantium ("the poorest of the Byzantine mosaics"; "the only hope for the hopeless is to perceive itself to be hopeless"). According to Elman, Fenollosa's perception was influenced by the political and military defeats of the Qing empire.
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Kanō Motonobu was a Japanese painter. He was a member of the Kanō school of painting. Through his political connections, patronage, organization, and influence he was able to make the Kanō school into what it is today. The system was responsible for the training of a great majority of painters throughout the Edo period (1603–1868). After his death, he was referred to as Kohōgen (古法眼).
Basil Hall Chamberlain was a professor of Japanese at Tokyo Imperial University and one of the foremost British Japanologists active in Japan during the late 19th century. He also wrote some of the earliest translations of haiku into English. He is perhaps best remembered for his informal and popular one-volume encyclopedia Things Japanese, which first appeared in 1890 and which he revised several times thereafter. His interests were diverse, and his works include an anthology of poetry in French.
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Arthur Wesley Dow was an American painter, printmaker, photographer and influential arts educator.
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Kanō Hōgai was a Meiji era (19th-century) Japanese artist of the Kanō school. As one of the last Kanō artists, he helped pioneer the nihonga art style with Hashimoto Gahō and art critic Ernest Fenollosa. Hōgai's work reflected the traditional style of the school whilst still showing experimentation and influence with Western methods. Hōgai is perhaps best known for his paintings of dragons, birds, and Buddhist gods such as Kannon.
William Sturgis Bigelow (1850–1926) was a prominent American collector of Japanese art. He was one of the first Americans to live in Japan and helped to form the standards by which Japanese art and culture were appreciated in the West.
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Hishida Shunsō was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter from the Meiji period. One of Okakura Tenshin's pupils along with Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, he played a role in the Meiji era innovation of Nihonga. His real name was Hishida Miyoji. He was also known for his numerous paintings of cats.
Kyoto City University of Arts a.k.a. “Kyōtogeidai”. The official abbreviated name is“Kyōgei”. KCUA is a public, municipal university of general art and music in Kyoto, Japan. Established in 1880, it is Japan's oldest university of the arts. Among its faculty and graduates have been 16 recipients of the Order of Culture, 24 members of the Japan Art Academy, and 10 artists who have been designated Living National Treasures. It has been associated especially closely with nihonga painters from western Japan.
Umewaka Minoru I, also Umewaka Rokurō LII (五十二世梅若六郎), was a Noh actor of late Edo and early Meiji period Japan. A prolific teacher of Noh in the Meiji period, he taught a variety of people including the painter Kōgyo, the writer Ezra Pound, and the scholar and art collector Ernest Fenollosa. His diary, published under the title Umewaka Minoru Nikki, spans much of his life, and records in great detail his activities and the world of Noh in the Meiji period.
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Kanō Tomonobu was a Japanese painter of the Kanō school. He used the art names Shunsen (春川) and Isseisai (一青斎).
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Reminiscence of the Tempyō Era is a 1902 painting by yōga artist Fujishima Takeji (1867–1943). Inspired by nostalgia for the Tempyō era and, like his Butterflies and covers for the literary magazine Myōjō, an influential exemplar of Meiji romanticism, it has been designated an Important Cultural Property. It is part of the collection of the Ishibashi Foundation.