Brangwyn, Frank

(1867 – 1956)

Working photomontage for Man's Ultimate Destiny, Rockefeller, 1933

£9,750.00

SKU: 5556

Squared, with pen and ink and white oil paint highlights


Mural scheme for the Rockefeller Center, New York.

Size:
Height: 85cm
Width: 130cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private Collection

Literature: British Murals & Decorative Painting 1920-1960, Sansom & Co, 2013, pp.218-231

Brangwyn’s celebrated murals for the Rockefeller Center adorn the facade of the Comcast building, situated at the heart of the center at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.


 

The murals decorate the main atrium around the entrance to the lifts.

This working photomontage, which was probably developed by Alfred Sinden, was worked upon by Brangwyn with multiple grids for enlarging the image on to the final canvas. The cartoon from which the photograph is taken is one of four in the collection of the William Morris Gallery, London Borough of

Waltham Forest. This photograph shows the final composition in which the figure of Christ has effectively turned his back upon Rockefeller. 

Picasso and Matisse were originally asked to paint murals for the newly built Rockefeller Centre, but after they declined Brangwyn, the Spanish artist Jose Maria Sert and the Mexican Diego Rivera were subsequently appointed. Critics complained that American artists should have been chosen for such a prestigious commission. 

Further controversy followed in May 1933 when Rivera was prevented from finishing his mural after it was discovered that he had included a portrait of Lenin, and sympathizers of the artist clashed with police outside the building. The authorities also objected to the bright colours of the panel (Sert and Brangwyn had both agreed to paint monochrome works) and the mural was taken down and replaced by a new mural by Sert.

In September 1933, Brangwyn himself faced controversy. Officials from the Rockefeller Center objected to the figure of Christ being included in the fourth panel, representing the Sermon on the Mount.

Raymond M. Hood, one of the architects of the Center, explained that, ‘some people here felt that it would not be fitting to put the figure of Christ in a business building. They thought that might be too strong a representation of an individual religion.’ It was suggested that Brangwyn represent Jesus by a light shining from heaven. However the artist merely reversed his figure, so that Christ facing the populace became the back of a nameless cloaked man.

In catalogue no. 27, an earlier version of the same composition, Christ faces the viewer.

The following article discusses  Brangwyns murals in their wider international context:

 https://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/27/muralism-and-anglo-american-exchange

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THE ARTIST

Brangwyn, Frank

1867 – 1956

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium, the son of an English father and Welsh mother. The family returned to London in 1874, Brangwyn’s father gaining work as a designer of buildings, embroideries and furniture. Although Brangwyn appears to have had little formal education, whether academic or artistic, his earliest mentors were three of the most influential men in design at the turn of the century: Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo, William Morris and Siegfried Bing. Between 1884 and 1887 Brangwyn travelled to Kent, Cornwall and Devon, before venturing further with trips to Turkey in 1888, South Africa in 1891, Spain in 1892 and Morocco in 1893.

Brangwyn was an independent artist, an experimenter and innovator, capable of working on both large and small scale projects, ranging from murals, oil paintings, watercolours, etchings, woodcuts and lithographs to designs for architecture, interiors, stained glass, furniture, carpets, ceramics and jewellery, as well as book illustrations, bookplates and commercial posters. It is estimated that he produced over 12,000 works during his lifetime. Mural commissions included the Worshipful Company of Skinners, London (1902-09), St Aidan’s church, Leeds (1908-16), Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg, Canada (1918-21), Christ’s Hospital, Horsham (1912-23), State Capitol, Jefferson City, USA (1915-25), the British Empire panels, Swansea (1925-32), and Rockefeller Center, New York (1930-34). Brangwyn married Lucy Ray in 1896 and took on the lease of Temple Lodge, Hammersmith, in 1900. In 1918 the artist purchased The Jointure, Ditchling, where he spent most of his time following his wife’s death in 1924. Elected RA in 1919, knighted in 1924, holder of countless artistic awards, Brangwyn was modest about his singular achievements, regarding art as an occupation and describing himself as a designer.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Frank Brangwyn
Book plate for Brangwyn’s Wife, Lucy
£975.00
Frank Brangwyn
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, original design for T N Foulis, circa 1910
£1,275.00
Frank Brangwyn
The Last Supper, St Joseph’s, Stokesley, 1946
£2,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Parrot – Original Study for the Great Empire Panels
£1,250.00
Frank Brangwyn
Water carrier, circa 1903
£5,500.00
Frank Brangwyn
Making Sailors: Youthful Ambition c.1917
£1,400.00
Frank Brangwyn
Bricklayers, a study for Rebuilding Belgium, 1915
£14,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Sketchbook, 1892
£2,250.00
Frank Brangwyn
War Bonds 2 (Back Him Up, Buy War Bonds) W1930, circa 1918
£3,800.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study for the Empire Panels in red chalk, circa 1925
£2,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Drapery Study for a Station of the Cross, circa 1933
£1,320.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study for central panel of Nativity window, St Mary the Virgin, Bucklebury, Berkshire, early 1920’s
£9,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study of Man Carrying Rifle, Study for Jefferson City
£1,490.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study of a Monk, full length three-quarter view, Study for St Aidan
£3,140.00
Frank Brangwyn
Figure study, Study for St Aidan
£1,600.00
Frank Brangwyn
Portrait of Jerome Esser?
£3,740.00
Frank Brangwyn
Man Singing, study for Christ’s Hospital, panel 7
£3,800.00
Frank Brangwyn
Studies for St Amand and St Eloi ‘ windows in the Abbey St Andr’, Bruges
£6,350.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study of Figure with Vessel, study for Venice Biennale 1905
£3,300.00
Frank Brangwyn
Studies of a Kneeling and Seated Man
£1,600.00
Frank Brangwyn
A Trader, Study for Selfridges
£1,980.00
Frank Brangwyn
Courtier, study for Panel 2, Skinners
£1,650.00
Frank Brangwyn
Studies for Man Playing Guitar
£1,600.00
Frank Brangwyn
Allegory of War and Industry
£1,490.00
Frank Brangwyn
Boy with Globe, study for panel 5, Skinners
£2,420.00
Frank Brangwyn
Man Carrying Child on His Back
£2,040.00
Frank Brangwyn
Loot, working proof
£2,200.00
Frank Brangwyn
Man Playing Flute, study for panel 3, Skinners
£1,600.00
Frank Brangwyn
Jesus Falls Below the Cross, 1916
£13,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Working Men, study for Lloyds Register of Shipping
£4,400.00
Frank Brangwyn
Working photomontage for Man’s Ultimate Destiny, Rockefeller, 1933
£9,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
The 2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross, c.1934
£6,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
The Begging Musicians, 1930
£6,800.00
Frank Brangwyn
The Mowers, 1912
£7,500.00
Frank Brangwyn
Ship Building, 1912
£5,750.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study for Man the Creator, circa 1932
£35,000.00
Frank Brangwyn
Study for Man the Master 1930-1934
£48,000.00
Frank Brangwyn
King of the Seas – Raleigh, 1924
£1,600.00
Frank Brangwyn
Butchers Shop, 1904
£5,280.00
Frank Brangwyn
Stone Cutters, circa 1921
£14,520.00
Frank Brangwyn
Design for Thurstons for a Billiard Table, circa 1902
£7,920.00
Frank Brangwyn
Beer
£975.00