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.
Frank Brangwyn the Bruges Collection
Generale Bank 1987
Frank Brangwyn 1867-1956Leeds Museums & Galleries 2007
British Empire Panels Designed for the House of Lords By Frank Brangwyn
Frank Brangwyn and His Work
Walter Shaw Sparrow
Dana Estes and Company1911
Art is individuality added to tradition
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