Monday, 23 November 2009

Donation of seven artworks increases Wolverhampton’s collections

Wolverhampton Art Gallery will soon be receiving a much welcomed gift in the form of seven drawings by internationally-renowned, British artist Sir Frank Brangwyn.

The new additions, a selection of cartoon drawings from the early 20th century, were kindly left to the gallery by Mrs I Sidaway of Bridgnorth, now sadly deceased. The gallery already holds a large selection of Brangwyn’s artwork, including paintings, drawings and prints, and is delighted to be able to enhance their collection with these new pieces.

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium in 1867. His father was an English architect, and from a young age Frank saw art as a part of everyday life. After moving back to London with his family, Brangwyn began teaching himself to draw, and soon became an apprentice to William Morris, one of the most influential voices in Victorian art and architecture, and leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

He travelled widely during his career, developing his artistic skills by making colourful sketches and paintings of foreign scenery and architecture. Brangwyn became highly accomplished in all aspects of art, not just oil painting and watercolours but also illustration, stained glass, and jewellery and furniture design. With his expressive and realistic drawing style, seen in this selection of drawings donated to the gallery, he was also appointed as an official war artist for the First World War.

Sir Frank Brangwyn was ultimately best known for his large scale murals. These were often figurative and featured historical subjects. He was a painter of great empathy and had an affinity with working people. After completing murals for variety of international institutions, in Canada, New Zealand and America, he earnt an international reputation not only as a skilled muralist, but also as a high-ranking British artist. His mural for the former RCA Building at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, 1934 was among his most celebrated works.

Marguerite Nugent, Head of Curatorial Services at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, said:

“We are very grateful to Mrs Sidaway for leaving the gallery these drawings by Frank Brangwyn. They will form an important part of our collection which visitors will be able to enjoy.”

She continues, “If other potential benefactors are interested in donating pieces to the gallery then we would be interested to hear from them. Donations and bequests enable us to develop our collections and it means that some fantastic art works are kept in the public realm for all to enjoy.

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