I Found An Art: Frank Brangwyn Print

Frank Brangwyn Print

Part one of the big game hunting story.

I had three goals this weekend: Go to Target and try to get some Phillip Lim; Go to the Leslieville Flea and deliver a package to Eric at Lucky Patina; and Go to the Value Village and drop off a bag of clothes (part of my Fall cleaning strategy).

I never got to Target — my friend Daniel tweeted that there was nothing left. Apparently first women through the door loaded up their shopping carts with bags and clothes and proceeded to go straight to the checkout. I will try the KW Target later in the week and look for returns.

At the Value Village, I successfully downsized a good chunk of my wardrobe (mostly things I bought for under $10 at Old Navy or Joe Fresh that never quite worked despite their cheapness). I also spotted this old-looking print of a vital and muscular fellow stretching a canvas. The back of the picture was ripped and the print itself was loosened from its matte. But, it was $3. I couldn’t resist.

Frank Brangwyn Print signature

So I got it home and researched it discovered the works of Anglo-Welsh artist Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956). Brangwyn was a self-taught artist and a prolific one, producing oil paintings, watercolours, etchings, woodcuts and lithographs.I’m not an appraiser, but I did go to art school and I’m pretty sure this piece is a lithograph, although it is not numbered. It is also signed in pen, which is weird for prints (although maybe not weird for Brangwyn).

So I emailed art historian Libby Horner, who is behind the site Brangwyn.org, and she immediately wrote back: “Your work is in fact an etching cut on a copper plate in 1906. The title is Skin Scrapers No. 2, it was printed in 1906 and was apparently etched on the spot in Brentford on the outskirts of London.”

Given the presence of Ben-Day dots, I’m guessing that my print is a 1911 reproduction of the original etching (this is based on this whole series being reprinted as bookplates at that timE). I think the signature may be legit, as it falls outside of where the paper is embossed from the printing plate.

So it’s an old reproduction, but right now I’m just happy to be introduced to the artist (he was also an illustrator and designer for architecture, interiors, stained glass, furniture, carpets, ceramics and jewellery, as well as bookplates and commercial posters — especially during WW1 — so there’s lot of work to be introduced to). Ms. Horner also writes that she is publishing a book about Brangwyn’s war posters early next year.