11th June 1956. Brangwyn the Forgotten Artist.
Today in 1956 illustrator, designer and painter, Anglo-Welsh, Sir Frank Brangwyn RA died, a reclusive and forgotten man, but responsible in his lifetime for a prodigious output in art and design.
An autodidact he had his first painting shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition at the age of 17, and in his heyday much acclaimed.
His mural below was originally created for the House of Lords, but rejected as being ‘too colourful and lively’, so in 1934, the 16 panels were bought by Swansea Council.
It was a rejection from which he never fully recovered, and this and his declining influence was to cause his depression and withdrawal from life.
Brangwyn born in 1857 in Bruge, later to be become a Royal Academician (RA), was apprenticed to the Arts and Crafts Movement guru, William Morris and developed his skills as a print maker, furniture designer and integrated the Movement into everyday ‘art for the people’ as seen in his popularist murals.
The late 19thc saw a vogue for things Japanese and in the 1920.s Brangwyn teamed up with a Japanese artist in Britain who produced 50 prints in which Urushibara realised the artist’s compositions using traditional woodblocks printing techniques.
Brangwyn integrated western and oriental artistic trends and though never visiting Japan he designed a a gallery in Tokyo, the Sheer Pleasure Pavilion funded by a shipping magnate who owned a large collection of Brangwyn’s works.
The magnate went bust in 1926 and the project abandoned and part of Brangwyn’s oeuvre lost which on top of his rejection by the Lords, left him a diminished figure when he died.
Now largely forgotten, Marius Gombrich, the art-historian, linked the decline of Brangwyn to that of Empire, where the bold, vigorous and outgoing ethos, was replaced by something inward-looking, less confident and intellectually effete.
telegraph.co.uk.frank-brangwyn. Mark Hudson 3.2.2017.
wikipedia.org/brangwyn/Pic of Swansea and Poster.
london-se1.co.uk.Transport of London/Pic of Southwark.