Monday, June 1, 2015

Frank Brangwyn on Business and Art

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) was a self-taught and independent-minded Anglo-Welsh painter, etcher and muralist who was also a mentor for Dean Cornwell.

"We must never forget that the great artists of the past were, first and foremost, honest, capable craftsmen, who worked to the order of various patrons and clients. Isn't it nonsense to talk, as the 'highbrows' do, of 'prostituting your art' when you work for a businessman? Obviously you only prostitute Art when you do it badly. As to selling your work, it is quite immaterial whether your client is a king, a bishop or a soap-boiler, as long as your work is really worthy of you.

"There should be a lot more commonsense in Art, and less affectation; and perhaps the worst affectation is this nonsense about 'vulgarising' Art by associating it with commerce. I want to see it used a great deal more, not only for Commerce, but for Life. I want it to be more useful and comforting to the people. What is Art, if it is not a message that everybody can understand?

"Did Rubens, or Titian, or Rembrandt mystify the public or sneer at them? They did not. Did they set themselves on pedestals—or pose—or paint down to the public level? They did not. The public is quite ready for the finest Art that any living artist can offer. And we shall certainly get more commonsense into Advertising when the Artist and the Businessman are better friends."
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Quote is from Phil May: The Artist and His Wit by David Cuppleditch
Website sampling from Brangwyn's Art 

2 comments:

Chris James said...

Oh snap! But seriously, I always found silly the notion that some pauper in a moldy studio is more capable of creating great or "real" art than the artist who is supported by a government/corporation or wealthy patron/publishing CEO. Only in the graphic arts; does anyone ever say Mozart prostituted his art? Hitchcock?

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