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Brangwyn, Frank

(1867 – 1956)

Aerial perspective of Kyoraku Art Museum, Tokyo, 1918

Wash over pencil

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Brett Coram;

This is Frank Brangwyn’s architectural sketch commissioned by Matsukata for the  Kyoraku Art Museum, Tokyo.

Work on this project stated in 1918.

The National Museum of Western Art was established in 1959 with the aim of housing and displaying the Matsukata Collection, which was returned to Japan by the French government.

The founder of the Matsukata Collection, Kojiro Matsukata (12th month of Keiō1 in the Japanese Calendar; January 1866-1950 [Matsukata Kōirō 松方 幸次郎]), was the third son of Masayoshi Matsukata, a politician of the Meiji period who rose to the post of Prime Minister. After completing his college preparatory studies in Tokyo, Kojiro Matsukata went to America for further studies, obtaining a JD in law from Yale University. Kojiro traveled through Europe enroute to Japan, where he then acted as his father’s official secretary for some time. In 1896 Kojiro became the first president of the Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. of Kobe. He was also at one time the president of the Kobe Shimbun newspaper company and of the Kobe Gas Company. He was later elected chairman of the Kobe Chamber of Commerce and served as a member of the Diet.

Kojiro Matsukata began to collect artworks in London in the middle of World War I; he had made a fortune out of his shipbuilding business during the war, which allowed him to build a vast collection of artworks. On the occasion of several visits to Europe in the decade after 1916, Matsukata frequented art galleries and acquired a tremendous number of artworks ranging from painting and sculpture to furniture and tapestries. His entire collection is purposed to have reached 10,000 works, including about 8,000 Japanese woodblock prints that he acquired from Parisian jeweler Henri Vever and are now in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum. However, his passionate art collecting was not meant for his personal pleasure; rather, it came from an unselfish desire to build an art museum on his own and to put authentic European artworks on view for the benefit of young Japanese artists.

Matsukata carried a part of his collection back to Japan and was planning to build a museum to house his collection. He named his museum the ‚ÄúSheer Pleasure Fine Arts Pavilion‚Äù and entrusted his design to British painter Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956), his close friend and adviser for art collecting. He even secured a building site for the museum in the center of Tokyo. However, Matsukata’s dream did not come true; his plans were disrupted by the economic crisis of 1927, in which Kawasaki Dockyard’s major bank collapsed. Matsukata resigned as president and was forced to dispose of his own property to sustain his company in crisis; the artworks he had brought to Japan were sold in a series of auctions during the following years and were thus dispersed.

Although Matsukata had left a large number of his artworks in Europe, those stored in a London warehouse were destroyed in a fire in 1939, and the details of that loss cannot be confirmed. Meanwhile, some 400 artworks had been left in Paris under the care of Leonce Benedite, director of the Musee du Luxembourg, the contemporary French art museum of the period. Benedite had Matsukata’s works stored in the facilities of the Musee Rodin, for which he was also director. Those artworks were sequestrated by the French government toward the end of World War II as enemy property, and they came to possession of the French nation in 1951 as part of San Francisco Peace Treaty agreements. However, the French government decided to give back the majority of those artworks to the Japanese government as a sign of the renewed amity between the two countries. The artworks, designated as the Matsukata Collection, were returned to Japan in 1959, which led to the opening of the National Museum of Western Art.

We are grateful to Libby Horner for assistance. This drawing will appear as A1827 in her forthcoming catalogue raisonne on Brangwyn


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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
A Trader, Study for Selfridges
£1,980.00
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
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