Student Art Exhibition: Frank Lloyd Wright and Ukiyo-e

Russell Kraus Studio, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
May – June 2024

Frank Lloyd Wright credited three influences on his architecture: Louis Sullivan, Froebel blocks, and Japanese woodblock prints, known as Ukiyo-e. Wright was inspired by the simplicity and directness of the Ukiyo-e prints, by their abstractions of natural form and structure, and by their “elimination of the insignificant.”

Students were asked to take inspiration from the Japanese influence on Wright’s architectural principles, his connection to Ukiyo-e, and the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park. The exhibit was created in connection with the 2024 Joanne and Alan Kohn lecture, “Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel” by Dr. Ken Oshima presented by the FLWHEP at the Saint Louis Art Museum on May 11, 2024.

The exhibit was curated by Student Curator, Alan Yang, an Art History major at Washington University in St. Louis and an intern at the FLWHEP. The student contributors are also students of Washington University in St. Louis.

The exhibit will be on display in Russell Kraus’ studio in the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park through June 2024.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Breakdown

Nicole Nartey

When creating this illustration of the Frank Lloyd Wright House, my focus was to emphasize the feature of the house I found most significant. I highlighted the sharp edges, unique silhouettes, and distinct shapes of the Master Bedroom, Living room, and Studio. Additionally, I incorporated a ukiyo-e-inspired color palette and included the Japanese plum tree to add more depth to the space.

Sam Fox School of Design, Washington University in St. Louis

Window to the Isometric Studio

Leslie McIntosh
Watercolor on Japanese paper

In the corner of the studio in the Kraus house is a window edge that seemed to disappear as you look out on the landscape, and this connection between indoor and outdoor is what embodies Wright’s designs. The Ukiyo-e style is reflected through isometric projection of a photo I took, and the bold flat colors and lines, that still somehow blur the boundaries of interior and exterior. The brick highlights the horizontality of the Usonian style as well.

Freshman, Sam Fox School of Design, College of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis

Terrace in Cloud

Kaito Tanaka

Japanese art utilized shifting perspectives as opposed to the Western linear perspective. I depicted the triangular terrace of the Kraus House in Tosa school style to illustrate both its three-dimensionality and the building’s integration into the surrounding landscape, a concept that that also inspired Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural philosophy.

Senior, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis