Monday, November 29, 2010

Swipe Spot #11

or: When is a Brangwyn not a Brangwyn?

 The following Brangwyn is available at auction via Illustration House.

Lot 57  Frank Brangwyn,  nude women at well

The lot entry reads~
Lot 57 Frank Brangwyn 1867-1956
Nude women at well.
Drawing, probably before 1925; 
Charcoal and sepia conté on grey paper, 23 x 18", not signed
Estimate: $1,500 - 2,500
This drawing is probably a study for a mural project.
Provenance - The previous owner was an assistant of Dean Cornwell and acquired it from him.
Condition - Very good overall: some light creases of paper at lower edge; archivally matted and framed in dark wood.

Now, I have discussed the drawing with friends, about certain qualities that make me question whether it  might actually be a Cornwell. By and by, regardless of my doubts (which themselves are doubted), no one can argue that the figures are swiped from, Le repos (1863) by muralist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898).

Questions: answers I seek, answers I postulate, answers lost in time.
• What is the name of the previous owner (a.k.a. assistant of Dean Cornwell)?
• When the assistant of D.C. sold the drawing, did he attribute it to Brangwyn in order to raise its value?
• Is the composition based entirely upon a Puvis de Chavannes that I am unaware of?  Perhaps a sketch or easel painting.
• What do you know?

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