Sir Frank William Brangwyn
Sir Frank William Brangwyn
A Cook Shop, Naples
Sir Frank William Brangwyn was a Welsh artist, painter, water colorist, virtuoso engraver and illustrator, and progressive designer. He was born in Bruges, Belgium, where in 1865 his father William Curtis Brangwyn had received a commission to decorate the Basilica of the Holy Blood. In 1875 the family moved back to England. Frank Brangwyn received some artistic training, first at his father's studio, and later from the famous artist and architect William Morris, but he was largely an autodidact without a formal artistic education. When, at the age of seventeen, one of his paintings was accepted at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, he was strengthened in his conviction to become an artist.
An Ostrich Farm, South Africa
A Police Station, South Africa
In early 1891 Brangwyn, with his friend the painter William Hunt, was commissioned by the dealer T. J. Larkin to travel to South Africa to produce work for an exhibition at The Japanese Gallery at 28 New Bond Street. Larkin's intention was that the two painters should spend a year travelling in South Africa before returning but, as it turned out, and to Larkin's chagrin, their £1500 of expenses lasted but five months. The pair departed from newly built Tilbury Dock in March 1891 on the Union Castle Line mailship Dunnottar Castle, which occasion the present painting recalls. The greater part of the 55 paintings exhibited at The Japanese Gallery were painted on 12 1/4 X 16 1/4 inch fielded panels which Brangwyn carried in a specially constructed box in order to permit him to move on while the paint was still wet on the most recent pictures. The above picture was the largest by far to be shown in the exhibition although a small number of pictures of Cape Town on canvas exist that were painted on a larger scale than the standard panels. Eight years later Dunaottar Castle carried the young Winston Churchill representing the Morning Post and Sir Redvers Bullers and his Headquarters Staff to South Africa on the outbreak of the Boer War. Brangwyn first exhibited at The Fine Art Society in 1908, the first of eight lifetime exhibitions.
On the Coast, Tangier
The Slave Market
The Slave Market is a representative example of his easel pictures, painted with characteristic vigour and displaying a remarkable facility for utilising the glare. The brilliant colour and the drama of human passions inseparably associated with the hideous trade carried on in the little town in East Africa. It is indeed the dramatic element in things we see that appeal most to Mr Brangwyn. Sometimes as here, it is actual drama of human life but he finds it as unerringly in a stormy sky, a maze of scaffold, an immemorial bridge, a broken hulk. Daemonic energy is implicit in all things and it impels this master craftsmen to his greatest achievements.
Initially he painted traditional subjects about the sea and life on the seas. His canvas, Funeral At Sea (1890) won a medal of the 3rd class at the 1891 Paris Salon. The limited palette in this painting is typical of his Newlyn period (although he was not officially a Newlyn artist). By the late 19th century Orientalism had become a favoured theme for many painters. Soon Brangwyn was attracted by the light and the bright colours of these southern countries. He travelled to Istanbul and the Black Sea, by working as a deck hand for his passage. He made many paintings and drawings, particularly of Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey. This resulted in a marked lightening of his palette, a change which did not initially find critical favor. He continued his travels to different parts of Africa and also to South Africa. In 1895 the Parisian art dealer Siegfried Bing commissioned Brangwyn to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L'Art Nouveau, and encouraged Brangwyn into new avenues: murals, tapestry and carpet designs, posters and designs for stained glass to be produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany. For his austere but decorative designs he was recognized by continental and US critics as a prominent artist, while British critics were puzzled as how to evaluate him. Brangwyn is best known for the British Empire Panels (1925 - 1932), 16 very large works covering 3,000 sq ft (280 m2) originally intended for the Royal Gallery at the House of Lords at Westminster, but refused because the were "too colourful and lively" for the location. They are now housed in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Torn Shirt
The Torn Shirt is a study for a figure in Brangwyn’s large scale oil panel, Modern Commerce, 1900-06, at the Royal Exchange Building, London. The male figure, squared up for transfer, has been faithfully transcribed in the lower right part of Modern Commerce. In the muscular figure, Brangwyn has created a virile, heroic form that has its antecedents in the Italian High Renaissance. The figure, drawn from life, is built up with rich contours, parallel and cross hatching lines, and the use of white highlights. Brangwyn’s focus is on the sheer physicality of his subject; his face pointedly turned away, underlines his machine-like working power.
Brangwyn was an artistic jack-of-all-trades. As well as paintings and drawings, he produced designs for stained glass, furniture, ceramics, table glassware, buildings and interiors, was a lithographer and woodcutter and was an illustrator of books. In 1952 Clifford Musgrave estimated that Brangwyn had produced over 12,000 works. Brangwyn's mural commissions would cover over 22,000 sq ft (2,000 m2) of canvas, he painted over 1,000 oils, over 660 mixed media works (watercolours, gouache), over 500 etchings, about 400 wood engravings and woodcuts, 280 lithographs, 40 architectural and interior designs, 230 designs for furniture, and 20 stained glass panels and windows. In 1936 Brangwyn presented Bruges with over 400 works, now in the Arents House Museum. In return the King of Belgium made Brangwyn Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II, and Bruges made him Citoyen d'Honneur de Bruges (only the third time the award had been given). (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) By the 1930s Brangwyn's art went out of fashion and he retired to his home at The Jointure in Ditchling. His biographer has argued that he suffered from "an increasing pessimism and hypochondria" and "was saddened and angered by developments in modern art; he was aware that his work was now ignored by many critics or regarded as old-fashioned." Brangwyn was knighted in 1941 and in 1952. The Royal Academy held a retrospective of 470 of his works. Frank Brangwyn died at his home on 11th June 1956.