WALTER CRANE

SHOW IMAGES

Walter Crane was born in a well-to-do family. He worked in several fields of design and illustration. At an early age he was influenced by the theories of John Ruskin and William Morris, who claimed that the decorative arts had become degraded since the Middle Ages, and especially since the rise of capitalism. Like Morris, Crane believed that socialism would reform not only society, but the arts as well. He published books and articles on his views, which were very influential.

In his work Crane employed traditional crafts techniques, decorative patterns, graceful lines, and harmonious compositions. He re-used many classical symbols for new purposes, especially in his political cartoons. These testified to Crane's socialist convictions, and depicted the opposing forces in the class struggle in an allegorical fashion.

Cartoons for the Cause, a collection of Crane's best political cartoons, were published in 1896 on the occasion of an important international congress of socialist organizations in London. This publication made Crane famous in the socialist movement. His cartoons treated broad subjects and used universal symbols, and were acceptable to all within the movement. The Triumph of Labour and other cartoons from the collection were reprinted throughout Europe, and stayed popular until well into the 1930s.

SHOW IMAGES