Sir Frank Brangwyn RA

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.


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

Art is individuality added to tradition
~Frank Brangwyn

Gustav Bauernfeind

Armand Cabrera
Johann Gustav Adolf Bauernfeind was born in 1848 in Sulz am Neckar near Stuttgart, Germany. Bauernfeind had shown an aptitude for mechanical and freehand drawing. He decided to become an architect. He attended the Stuttgart Polytechnic Institute from 1864 to 1869. In 1870, Bauernfeind joined an architectural firm in Stuttgart under Professor Wilhelm Baumer.

After traveling to Vienna with Professor Baumer, Bauernfeind returned to Stuttgart a year later. He found employment at an architectural firm with Professor Adolf Gnauth, an architect and painter. Gnauth helped Bauernfeind pursue painting, finding him a commission to paint Italian scenes for the German art publisher, Johann Christian Englehorn. Gustav painted the Italian views from 1873 to 1874.

He returned to Stuttgart in 1974 and later moved to Munich in 1876. In Munich, Bauernfeind furthered his abilities as a painter. He developed friendships with other German artists such as Heinrich Von Zügel and Ludwig Löfftz.

Bauernfeind is most remembered for his accurate portrayals of the Mideast. He traveled there four times. (1880-1881), (1884-1887), (1888-1889), (1896-1904). Bauernfeind worked in watercolors and oils outdoors. Many of these sketches were the basis for larger studio works. He believed in thoroughly immersing himself in his painting motifs—
in some cases, painting Orientalist outdoor scenes at great risk to his life. He carried a gun and would hire local bodyguards to help protect him. Being a foreigner, Bauernfeind was often spat upon or had objects thrown at him while painting. Sometimes he was threatened by crowds and would be forced to leave the area.

Gustav Bauernfeind died in Jerusalem on Christmas Eve, 1904 from heart failure while decorating the Christmas tree.

His paintings are recognized for their veracity and attention to detail.
Bauernfeind’s The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem sold for £3 million (USD 4,485,839.51) against a pre-sale estimate of £600,000-800,000 –June2007


The Life and Work of Gustav Bauernfeind
Orientalist Painter 1848-1904

Hauswedell & Co. 1990
Alex Carmel and Hugo Schmidt
Translated from German by Ted Gorelick


When I arrived in the country [ Jerusalem]nearly one and a half years ago I wanted to try my hand at landscapes, in regard to which I was not really aware of having embarked on a new field whose difficulties I might not be able to surmount. But the solemnity of mood in the late evenings and early mornings brought it home to me, and when all else has been subject to change and has more often repelled than attracted the observer, then no one will dispute that landscape has on the whole held on to its character. ~ Gustav Bauernfeind

Mariano Fortuny Marsal


Armand Cabrera

Mariano Fortuny Marsal was born in 1838 in Reus Spain to a family of artisans. He was orphaned at the age of 12 and worked with his grandfather to help support the rest of his family.

Fortuny studied with Claudio Lorenzale at the Barcelona Academy of Fine Arts for four years. In 1858 Fortuny won the Prix de Rome, a scholarship prize which allowed him to study drawing and painting in Italy for two years.

He first visited Africa in 1859 and again in 1862. In 1866 Fortuny visited Paris where he became friends with Jean Leon Gerome and Ernest Meissonier. Fortuny was married to Cecilia de Madrazo in 1868 and had one son.

While in Paris, Fortuny signed a contract with the Parisian art dealer Adolphe Goupil, giving Goupil exclusive rights to Fortunys work. Goupil mounted a show for the painter in 1870. The show consisted of Fortuny’s paintings of North Africa and paintings of contemporary court life. The work was a huge success, the public and other artists were captivated by his bravura style, excellent draughtsmanship and his bold use of color.

Fortunys most important collector was the American William Hood Stewart, a Philadelphian. Stewart held the largest collection of the artists work and was responsible for introducing him to other American collectors.

Through patrons like Stewart and the respect of his peers Fortuny became a sensation. He was followed everywhere in Paris by artists and friends and while visiting in Rome could barely work because of the amount of solicitations from fellow artists, travelers and collectors.

His style is very much in the grand manner of painting, with facile loose brushwork and the ability to capture a moment in time. He was just as competent in watercolor as he was in oils. When you compare his work to other Orientalist painters the difference is powerful and immediate. Fortuny was not a mere recorder of facts. His work is infused with light, color and above all the life of his subjects.

Tragically Fortuny died from tertian ague, a type of malaria at the age of 36, November 21 1874.

The Orientalists
Painter-Travelers 1828-1908
Lynn Thorntorn
ACR Publishers 1983

The Orientalists
The Spanish School
Eduardo Dizy Caso
ACR Publishers 1997 (In French)

QuoteHe is the master of us all…Ah Fortuny, I cannot rest because of you.
~Henri Regnault

Henryk Hector Siemiradzki

Armand Cabrera


Henryk Hector Siemiradzki was born on October 24th, 1873 in Bilhorod near Kharkov in the Ukraine, part of the Russian Empire at the time. Henryk first studied painting with a local teacher but his parents convinced him to get a degree in mathematics and natural sciences.
 After receiving his doctorate in the natural sciences he continued to pursue his study of painting at the Imperial Academy of the Arts in Saint Petersburg. He was quickly recognized for his talent. He was awarded a gold medal and a grant to study abroad upon his graduation. He chose Munich, studying under Karl Von Piloty for a year. 
After selling his first large scale work to the St Petersburg Academy Henryk used the funds to settle in Rome and built a studio there, in the summers he would stay at his estate in Poland.
Henryk won a gold medal and the French National Order of the Legion of Honor at the 1878 world’s fair in Paris. His success brought him many commissions. His large scale works were often acquired for museums.  He is best remembered for his work depicting antiquity and the life of Christ.
Henryk died in 1902 at the age of 58
Some Call it Kitsch
Masterpieces of Bourgeois Realism
Aleksa Celebonovic
Abrams 1974