Ernest Fenollosa, Salem-born Harvard graduate, became in turn Professor of Philosophy at Tokyo University, Curator of the Imperial Museum of Japan, and Curator of Oriental Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His promotion of Chinese and Japanese art resounded throughout the United States. His unpublished notes on Chinese poetry and Japanese Noh drama were confided by his widow to Ezra Pound who, with William Butler Yeats, used them to solidify the growing interest in Far Eastern literature among modernist writers.

Ernest Fenollosa. Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art. London: William Heineman, 1912. From the library of Frederick Mortimer Clapp, Director of the Frick Museum.

Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art. Book Cover.

Fenollosa was asked to choose Japanese art for exhibition at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Millions of visitors became aware of the treasures to be found across the Pacific Ocean. His 1912 work in two volumes concentrates on art before 1800 but offers Hokusai's prints as a window of beauty after Japanese art had become too modern for Fenollosa's taste: "Hokusai is a great designer, as Kipling and Whitman are great poets. He has been called the Dickens of Japan."

Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound. "Noh" or Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. London: Macmillan and Co., 1916.

"Noh" or Accomplishment: A Study of the
Classical Stage of Japan

Fenollosa's work was finished by Ezra Pound with the aid of Arthur Waley, the noted British translator.

The Twentieth Century: American Modernists:
Oriental Aesthetics; Leo and Gertrude Stein
Harriet Monroe and the "Imagists"
Ezra Pound and Fenollosa
H.D., Amy Lowell and John Gould Fletcher
Katherine Anne Porter and Arthur Davison Ficke
Witter Bynner
Wallace Stevens
Eastern Themes and Modernist Theater; Eugene O'Neill
Thornton Wilder
William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore
E.E. Cummings and Gertrude Stein

Exhibition Introduction

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