Sheer Pleasure – Frank Brangwyn and the Art of Japan at the William Morris Gallery promises to be a rare and exciting opportunity to view the works in the Brangwyn collection, many of which will be displayed publicly for the first time, alongside important examples of Brangwyn’s own work.
Marking the 150th anniversary of Brangwyn's birth, the exhibition will explore the influence of Japanese art on his work, as well as his relationship with renowned Japanese artist Yoshijiro Urushibara (1888–1953).
During the 1910s, Brangwyn met Yoshijiro Urushibara in London. Their meeting led to a remarkable example of collaborative printmaking, combining the exuberant bravado of Brangwyn’s designs with the subtle and distinctive techniques of Japanese printmaking.
The exhibition will explore their collaborative process through sketches, notes and ‘key block’ prints and will display some of their most successful works, such as The Devil’s Bridge (1924) and the ambitious Bruges series, where Brangwyn was able to translate the designs of the city where he had spent his childhood into colour woodcuts produced and finished by Urushibara.
The exhibition will also tell the story of Brangwyn’s relationship with his patron Kojiro Matsukata and their plans to open a gallery of Western art in Tokyo. Matsukata became a long-standing patron of Brangwyn’s after they were introduced in Europe and in turn Brangwyn acted as an art advisor for the Matsukata collection. Brangwyn, like many artists in the mid-19th century, began collecting woodblock prints, ceramics and paintings, eventually amassing a significant collection of Japanese art, part of which he donated to the William Morris Gallery.
The exhibition takes place at the William Morris Gallery from 4 February – 14 May 2017. Admission is free. For more information, visit wmgallery.org.uk.
Via Creative Boom submission | All images © William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest