Vintage Poster - WWI - BRITISH, RARE - BRANGWYN Sailors & Soldiers Tobacco Fund
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This is truly one of the most magnificent posters I have had in the gallery - now, or ever. Despite the fact that it is in black and white, or perhaps because it is bereft of color, it is as powerful as any poster, large or small, as any other I have seen. The message is simple, and perhaps in our tobacco intolerant times, a little dated: but put yourself back almost a hundred years when smoking was really a simple pleasure, When it was one of the few simple pleasures 'our boys at the front' could take with them. And then put aside the text altogether and look at the image: You have, in the forefront, a group of soldiers - yes, enjoying a smoke - together as only men can be (in those times, before women were in the military) and see their comradeship. See on the lower right, the young men, happily going off to war, their bayonets slung over their arms, ready - no, willing - to go off to certain death. Then look to the left, in the background at the cathedral - going up in smoke (yes, yes, I get the irony...). It is, really, quite a masterpiece. Because the poster is unsigned I initially had a hard time finding its provenance, but like all posters, it has a history and a story: it was actually produced by a very well known and quite famous British artist by the name of Frank Brangwyn. According to Wikipedia: " Sir Frank William Brangwyn RA RWS RBA (12 May 1867 11 June 1956) was an Anglo-Welsh artist, painter, water colourist, virtuoso engraver and illustrator, and progressive designer. He was born in Bruges, Belgium, where his father had moved after winning a competition organised by the Belgian Guild of St Thomas and St Luke to design a parish church. His forenames were registered as Guillaume François. In 1874 the family moved back to England. He married Lucy Ray in 1896. She died childless in 1924. [He leased Temple Lodge, 51 Queen Street, Hammersmith from 1900 to 1937/38 and bought The Jointure, Ditchling, Sussex in 1918.] He was knighted in 1941. He died on 11 June 1956 at his home in Sussex. In 1936 Brangwyn presented Bruges with over 400 works, now in the Arents House Museum. In return the King of Belgium made Brangwyn Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II, and Bruges made him Citoyen d'Honneur de Bruges (only the third time the award had been given). Frank Brangwyn received some artistic training, probably from his father, and later from Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo and in the workshops of William Morris, but he was largely an autodidact without a formal artistic education. When, at the age of seventeen, one of his paintings was accepted at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, he was strengthened in his conviction to become an artist. Initially he painted traditional subjects about the sea and life on the seas. In 1895 the Parisian art dealer Siegfried Bing, commissioned Brangwyn to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L'Art Nouveau, and] encouraged Brangwyn into new avenues: murals, tapestry and carpet designs, posters and designs for stained glass to be produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany. For his austere but decorative designs he was recognized by continental and US critics as a prominent artist, while British critics were puzzled as how to evaluate him. Brangwyn is best known for the British Empire Panels (1925 - 1932), 16 very large works covering 3,000 sq ft (280 m2) originally intended for the Royal Gallery at the House of Lords at Westminster, but refused because the were "too colourful and lively" for the location. They are now housed in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. In 1908 Brangwyn was commissioned to paint the apse of St Aidan's Church, Leeds, but after it was realised that the air pollution would damage the paint it was agreed he should work in glass mosaic. The mosaic (using Rust's vitreous mosaic) was completed in 1916: it covers the whole apse and shows the life of St Aidan. Along with Diego Rivera and José Maria Sert, he was chosen by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to decorate the concourse of the RCA Building in New York City (1930-34) with murals. A sequence of large murals on canvas (originally from Horton House, Northamptonshire) is held by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Dunedin, New Zealand. He was also chosen to decorate the 1st class dining room of the Canadian Pacific liner, RMS Empress of Britain (1930-1931)]. Although Brangwyn produced over 80 poster designs during the First World War, he was not an official war artist. His grim poster of a Tommy bayoneting an enemy soldier (Put Strength in the Final Blow: Buy War Bonds) caused deep offence in both Britain and Germany. The Kaiser himself is said to have put a price on Brangwyns head after seeing the image. His choice of approaches was eclectic: He was like a jackdaw of art, taking the best and brightest jewels of each movement and then re- creating them in his own inimitable style. The chiaroscuro contrasts in his etchings are reminiscent of Giovanni Battista Piranesi or Rembrandt. His work has been compared to Oriental carpets, Italian Renaissance artists and the Old Masters, he was linked to various movements including Arts and Crafts, Vienna Secessionists, French Impressionists, the Nabis and Art Nouveau and his paintings show fleeting references to colleagues including Sir Alfred East, Dudley Hardy and Arthur Melville, but he was in essence his own man. Poster measures 56 x 40 inches is in very good condition, and linen backed. PLEASE NOTE: ALL OF OUR POSTERS ARE ORIGINAL, NON REPRODUCTION, VINTAGE PIECES.
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- Width: 40 inches
- Height: 56 inches
- Depth: 0 inch
- Weight: 0 pound
- paper, linen