June 8, 2011


Happy Birthday to Frank Lloyd Wright, born today in 1867. Perhaps the most celebrated and well-known architect, his works and influence can be seen by movie fans in the set designs of North By Northwest, The International, and others. What might be less well-known about the artist is that Wright was also an avid collector and dealer of Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e). I was interested to learn that, after he visited Japan in 1905, he helped to mount the first major exhibition of Hiroshige at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1906. Among his many projects, Hiroshige created numerous illustrations of classic adventure tales of revenge and assassination, like Chushingura, so Spy Vibers may find more than elegant designs in this story. Did anyone see the recent film, 13 Assassins?

In 1912, Wright penned a book, The Japanese Print: An Interpretation. The influence of Japanese Art, which often emphasizes the integration of natural soundings, on his work was explored in Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan by Kevin Nute in 2000, and Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan by Julia Meech in 2001. Learn more about this influential artist at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation here, at Wright in Japan here, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Japan here.

Feeling crafty? Check out the official LEGO sets to build Wright's Guggenheim Museum and Falling Water. Wright was, in my opinion, the star of The International (above). Movie poster available at Movie Goods here. Read more about Wright's influence on Hitchcock's North By Northwest (1959) on Spy Vibe here. Wright passed away on April 9, 1959, three months before the release of Hitchcock's film.

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