‘Artist In Focus: Frank Brangwyn’ Exhibition At The Dudley Museum

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The Dudley Museum is currently showcasing a selection of works by Anglo-Welsh artist, Sir Frank-Brangwyn (1867-1956), focusing on his drawings and sketches. The exhibition was curated by University of Birmingham student Tess Madden, who was on a placement at the Dudley Museum during her MA studies in International Heritage. It will be on display until Christmas 2018.

Frank Brangwyn, (detail of) Blind Basket Makers, 1937
Frank Brangwyn, (detail of) Blind Basket Makers, 1937

The Artist: Frank Brangwyn

The exhibition provides concise and intriguing information, on the life and art of Frank Brangwyn. Not only did Brangwyn illustrate and draw, he also experimented with many other forms of media including pottery, jewellery, architecture and war posters.

Additionally, the exhibition also highlights and explores Brangwyn’s relationship with one of his admirers and supporters, Belgium poet, Emile Verhaeren. Verhaeren commissioned Brangwyn to create multiple illustrations for his volume of poetry, Les Villes Tentaculaires (The Sprawling Towns).  A selection of these commissions have been included in the display.

Frank Brangwyn, (detail of) Interior of Theatre, 1937
Frank Brangwyn, (detail of) Interior of Theatre, 1937

One of the works produced for Verhaeren by Brangwyn, is Interior of Theatre, shown above. The illustration was created for Verhaeren’s poem, ‘The Show’. As the title suggests, the artwork portrays the interior of a lively, crowded theatre.  On the stage, Brangwyn has depicted a ballet performance, with a central female dancer dynamically moving near the foreground. Brangwyn’s sketched technique captures the excitement and energy of the room.

Artworks In Focus

Frank Brangwyn, Showing Studies of Kneeling Figure (1944) on the left and Seated Figure (1944) on the right
Frank Brangwyn, Showing Studies of Kneeling Figure (1944) on the left and Seated Figure (1944) on the right

The exhibition encompasses a broad range of subject matter from Brangwyn’s canon of work, including war-related illustrations and industrial scenes. Alongside these on display are detailed studies of human figures, including Studies of Kneeling Figure and Seated Figure as shown above. Although the artist had no formal training, he often missed school in order to draw at his father’s workshop or at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).

Both of Brangwyn’s drawings demonstrate his skill in capturing the human form and posture. Studies of Kneeling Figure was created for a final artwork in St. Aiden’s Church in Leeds. Brangwyn’s focus on precision can be seen by the use of grid lines, visible in the study. This can also be seen in Seated Figure, which demonstrates Brangwyn’s attention to detail of the muscle tone of the male model.

A Comment From The Curator: Chloe Winter-Taylor, Keeper of Glass and Fine Art.

We are very pleased to have our collection of Frank Brangwyn works on display at Dudley Museum; Tess did a wonderful job of researching and curating this exhibition during her placement here. We have received wonderful feedback from our visitors and hope to continue a rolling programme of Art in Focus Displays here at the museum going forward.

Summary

The Artist In Focus: Frank Brangwyn exhibition at the Dudley Museum, offers an extremely interesting perspective of an artist whose work explores varying subject matter, with a focus on intricate detailing. It is most definitely worth a visit to this well-thought out and curated exhibition.

Free Admission
On display until Christmas 2018

Time for one more read?

If you enjoyed today’s post, you will enjoy our recent post on ‘Within and Without’: reflections on the body and the self .

Author: April-Lina Waine

I am an undergraduate student at University of Birmingham, studying History of Art. I am working with Midlands Art Papers as part of the UGRS scheme.

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