Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sir Frank Brangwyn RA


By
Armand Cabrera

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges Belgium, in 1867. In 1874, his family moved to England. Frank Brangwyn received some artistic training in the workshops of William Morris, but received no formal artistic education. At the age of seventeen, one of Brangwyn’s paintings was accepted at the Royal Academy. His canvas, “Funeral At Sea”, painted in 1890, won a Medal of the 3rd Class at the 1891 Paris Salon.

When there was a strong interest in Orientalism, Brangwyn worked as a deck hand traveling to the Black Sea and Turkey. He created many outdoor paintings and drawings of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Africa.




In 1895, the Parisian art dealer, Siegfried Bing, commissioned Brangwyn to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L'Art Nouveau. Brangwyn began mural painting as part of his repertoire. Brangwyn received many mural commissions.

In 1901, he painted murals for the Great Hall at Skinners, London. They were eventually completed in 1909.
Brangwyn painted eight murals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, 1915. They are now located in the lobby at the Herbst Theatre.

His most famous murals are the British Empire Panels painted 1925 – 1932. They were commissioned to commemorate the First World War. The sixteen works cover 3,000 square feet in total. They were originally intended for the House of Lords at Westminster, but rejected for being too colorful and spirited. They are now located in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales.

In 1930, Brangwyn was chosen by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. along with Diego Rivera to decorate the RCA Building in New York City. The murals were completed in 1934.

In 1936 Brangwyn presented the city of Bruges, Belgium with over four hundred works. In return, Bruges made Brangwyn a Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II and Citoyen d'Honneur de Bruges (only the third time the award had been given). He was knighted in 1941.



As well as murals, paintings and drawings, Brangwyn also created designs for furniture and stained glass, ceramics, table glassware, buildings and interiors. In addition he illustrated books.

Brangwyn died on the 11th of June 1956 at his home in Sussex.



Bibliography

Frank Brangwyn the Bruges Collection
Dominique Marechal
Generale Bank 1987

Frank Brangwyn 1867-1956Leeds Museums & Galleries 2007


British Empire Panels Designed for the House of Lords By Frank Brangwyn
Frank Rutter
Lewis 1933

Frank Brangwyn and His Work
Walter Shaw Sparrow
Dana Estes and Company1911

Quote
Art is individuality added to tradition
~Frank Brangwyn

3 comments:

James Gurney said...

I wish there was a good contemporary book on Brangwyn. He was such a major painter in his time, but generally unknown today.

There's a nice Brangwyn original at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT. He influenced American illustration, both Dean Cornwell and Peter Helck, who studied with him.

Frank Ordaz said...

I saw your post from Gurney's Blog...I've known Jim for awhile...

Anyway, My best Bud Tim Solliday is a Brangwyn fanatic. I mean fanatic. We have a running joke every time we talk , when he will bring up Brangwyn in the conversation. Our art teacher, Lukits, idolized him. Tim I think has read every book published on him. I like his work, yet I feel its so decorative its hard to know where he wants you to go. But that is a minor complaint. Our teacher Lukits assisted Dean Cornwell in designing the L.A. Public Library Murals. He still had the sketches in his studio.

Will check in from time to time....nice work....

Ian Cox said...

My local Brangwyn is in St Winifred's Church, Manaton,Devon, in the form of a stained glass window called The Hunt Window.