Brangwyn - irrepressible genius
More than any other British artist craftsman Brangwyn can be seen as the natural successor to Augustus Pugin and William Morris. His father Curtis was an ecclesiastical designer working in Bruges in the Pugin tradition and Brangwyn assisted him from early childhood.
By the age of 15 he was well accustomed to life in a working studio and became an assistant to Morris in London. At twenty he escaped the Morris workshops to travel the world as a working seaman, but first came ashore in Cornwall and quickly found recognition as a youthful member of the Newlyn painters. He then crossed the channel and became a leading figure in Parisian Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secessionists.
His prodigious proficiency, across a wide diversity of styles and mediums, brought him fame and fortune for the greater part of his long working life. However, in his final years, his largest mural, a 3,000 ft decorative scheme on an Empire theme intended for the Royal gallery of the House of Lords, fell victim to both Post World War 1 Governmental Empiric ambivalence and general artistic enthusiasm for Cubism.
As a result, for many years after his death, Brangwyn’s work was beset by undeserved critical neglect. It nevertheless continued to be sought by discerning collectors and the international art market of the twenty first Century once again acknowledges his irrepressible genius.
|Brangwyn working on a stretched canvas