The 1923 European trip undertaken by Francis Barry Byrne and his collaborator, the sculptor Alfonso Iannelli, is the subject of Expressing the Modern: Barry Byrne in 1920s Europe. As vividly recorded in the letters written by Byrne to his future wife, he and Iannelli visited the Weimar Bauhaus and met with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Erich Mendelsohn, J. J. P. Oud, T. H. Wijdeveld, and other leading modernists. Byrne, who trained in Frank Lloyd Wright's first studio, was especially drawn to the work of the expressionists, and Vincent L. Michael associates Byrne's distinctive architecture with that strain of modernism and with the liturgical reform movement that he helped to promote within the Catholic church, his most significant patron. In 1928 Byrne became the only Prairie School architect to build in Europe with the commission for Christ the King church in Cork, Ireland, and he continued to design modern churches into the 1960s.

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