Friday, 7 October 2016

Frank Brangwyn’s etching “Opening of the Manchester ship canal", 1920


Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867–1956)
"Opening of the Manchester ship canal", 1920
Etching with drypoint printed in dark brown ink with plate tone on fine wove paper, signed in pencil by the artist.
Size: (sheet) 28.9 x 32 cm; (plate) 20.2 x 24 cm
Gaunt 297

Condition: well-inked proof impression (i.e. before the print was editioned) with small margins, signed (faintly) in pencil and in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, foxing or significant stains but there are thin areas in the margins). The sheet is not glued to a support sheet/board.

I am selling this print by Brangwyn—one of the most famous printmakers from the last century—for a total cost of AU$172 (currently US$130.21/EUR117.06/GBP104.71 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this strong and confidently executed etching by a true master of printmaking, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Although Brangwyn was largely an autodidact (i.e. self-taught without formal training), skills learned from his father, William Curtis Brangwyn (1839–1907), and Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (1851–1942), as well as from the workshops of William Morris, gave him the necessary grounding for his artistic development and ultimate status as one of the major printmakers from the last century. The reason I mention Brangwyn’s seldom discussed background is that this composition has a curious mix of elements involving intuitive insight (e.g. the large curved lines “rounding off” the lower right corner—a visual device that I conceive as representing the loss of focal acuity at the peripheral edge of his vision) and the traditional conventions of composition (e.g. the use of a system of spatial zones leading from the foreground features portrayed with sharp tonal contrast and emphatically drawn lines to features portrayed in the far distance with softly blended tones and freely laid lines).

For me, this is a fascinating print as I see an abutment of two different styles of drawing dividing the plate almost horizontally: in the lower half of the image, the style shows strong and confident line work while in the upper half the style shows lightly laid, lopped strokes revealing the subject only tentatively.





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