Walter Langley Biography | Oil Paintings

6-8-1852 Birmingham, ENG – 3-21-1922 Penzance, ENG

Langley, Walter

Walter Langley was apprenticed to a Birmingham lithographer at fifteen years old. Once he finished his apprenticeship at twenty, he won a scholarship to South Kensington Art School and studied design for two years. When he returned home to Birmingham, he worked as a lithographer for a short time but decided to become an artist instead. In 1881 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and was offered £500 pounds (equal to US$60,000 today) for a year's work by a Birmingham photographer. With this cash, he moved his family to Newlyn, at the western toe of England, where he was one of the first artists to settle there and began painting the life of the fishing community.

Left wing for his era, he was a supporter of Charles Bradlaugh, a radical socialist politician. Walter Langley was noted for his social pragmatist depictions of common laborers, particularly the local fishermen and their families. His working-class background and living among the villagers enabled him to identify with the hardships they endured. One of the best-known paintings from this time is Between The Tides, and For Men Must Work and Women Must Weep, based on Charles Kingsley's poem The Three Fishers.

Although he was one of the first to settle in the Newlyn artists' colony Newlyn School, Walter Langley benefited little from its growing fame, because of his working-class origins and because he painted in watercolor until 1892 rather than doing the more prestigious paintings in oil.

In 1884, Walter Langley was elected a member of The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and exhibited throughout the UK and abroad. Later in his career, his reputation grew. One of Langley's paintings was singled out as by Leo Tolstoy in his book What is Art?, while in 1895 Langley was invited by the prestigious Uffizi Gallery in Italy to contribute his self-portrait to hang alongside those of Raphael, and Peter Paul Rubens in their collection of portraits of great artists.

Art Movement: Realism.
He Traveled To Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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