Fenollosa, Ernest F.

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Ernest Francisco Fenollosa,(1853-1908), born in Salem, is best known for his contributions to Japanese art, especially the revival of Nihonga (Japanese) style of painting.

  • Fenollosa's father was an immigrant from Spain who married into the Silsbee family.
  • Graduated Harvard top of his class in 1874.
  • In 1878, took teaching position at Tokyo University, promoted by his fellow Salemite and friend Edward Morse.
  • In 1886 was hired to serve as commissioner of fine art by the emperor and organized and taught at the Tokyo School of Art. Fenolossa did much to encourage the Japanese to hold on to their ancient art forms, as they were being abandoned for new Western forms.
  • 1890 he relocated to Boston where he was named curator of Japanese Art at the Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Fenollosa died suddenly in 1908 in London at age 56. His remains were later permanently interred in his beloved Japan.
  • In 1991, a documentary was made by a Japanese broadcasting company on the life of Fenollosa, with footage from the house he grew up in at 5 Chestnut St. It includes letters written in the 1880's to his friend Edward S. Morse, who served as director of the Peabody Museum for 36 years (which houses a large collection of everyday items from pre-industrial Japan.)

See Also

  • "A passionate crusader for Japanese Art" Salem Evening News, Sept. 22, 1999.
  • "Home of a national hero; Japanese pay their respects to Salem man" Salem Evening News, Aug. 12, 1991.
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Fenollosa, Ernest
  • "Salemites made their mark in Japan and Europe" Salem News, Aug. 24, 2009, p. 7