Cheffins /Sep 7, 2016
Artworks in Arcadja1024
Some works of Alfred James MunningsExtracted between 1,024 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Sotheby's -Nov 22, 2016 - New-yorkLot number: 58
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Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. BRITISH STUDY FOR GOING TO THE START 1878-1959 signed A.J. Munnings (lower right) and indistinctly inscribed Jockey going to (on the reverse of the panel) oil on panel 9 3/4 by 14 in. 24.8 by 35.5 cm Authentication We would like to thank Lorian Peralta-Ramos for kindly assisting in cataloguing this work, which will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Sir Alfred James Munnings. Provenance The Leicester Galleries, London Mrs. Dunne (acquired from the above, 1947) Thence by descent (and sold, Christie's, New York, December 5, 2003, lot 132, illustrated) Richard Green, London Acquired from the above Exhibited London, The Leicester Galleries, "The English scene" : horses, racing, landscapes, and studies by Sir Alfred James Munnings P.R.A., October-November 1947, no. 66 Catalogue Note After the second world war, Munnings turned away from the formal portraits of prized horses that had been the heart of his work and concentrated on racing scenes, particularly those at his favorite racecourse, Newmarket. Munnings had become resistant to the commissioned work that he felt so constrained his freedom, but, more importantly, he was living again at his country house in Dedham -- close enough to the racecourse at Newmarket (about 40 miles away) to allow him to visit regularly throughout the racing season. In addition to watching three or four races a day, as he often did, the Jockey Club kindly allowed Munnings to convert an old rubbing barn into a track-side studio, as well as the unusual privilege of bicycling on the race course. Doubtless an eccentric spectacle, it afforded him extraordinary mobility to view the field of runners during the sketching and planning phase of a composition. As he describes in his autobiography, “some horses, more restive than others – dancing sideways, capering, rearing, bounding – dashed off in pursuit of those ahead. For me the visual beauty was over all too soon, as strings of restive horses came down, turned and cantered one after the other up the hill to meet the sun. What books did I fill with hundreds of drawings and notes! My mind and brain were saturated in the subject.” (Sir Alfred J. Munnings, The Finish, London, 1952, p. 181). Later, in his converted barn at the track or back at the more elaborate studio at Castle House, Munnings worked on numerous paintings at once, surrounded by his many sketches of "starts" and studies of individual horses. Munnings included either a finished “start” painting or a less polished “start” sketch in virtually every Royal Academy show in which he exhibited between 1940 and his death in 1959, and the present work was included in the momentous Leicester Galleries exhibition in 1947 (see lot 63 for further discussion). This study would eventually be used for the central horse and jockey in his large canvas Going to the Start (1945, National Museum of Racing, Saratoga, fig. 1), which features a group of horses proceeding towards the starting line, some having broken into a gallop while others are held back. Munnings loved the scenes preceding the start of a race, where horses and jockeys gather in anticipation of the dropping of the starting flag, some more quietly than others. He frequently described the different “starts” that he witnessed, and ruefully acknowledges the frustrations he faced in getting the specific character of these always-unique moments onto canvas in a frequently quoted passage The Finish: "I am standing on the course -- the most beautiful course in the world: cloudless October sky, a faint wind from the east....I am looking at the scene, the old, old scene -- a centuries old scene. Horses come up the course looking like those of years ago....Bright colors in the sun just the same as of yore....What a sight for the artist! with the long shadows and the lights on the boots, lights on the horses....This is the best picture I have ever seen– why can't I paint it?" (Munnings, p. 216-7). Munnings’’’’’’’’ technical expertise and deep knowledge of his subject contribute to the fluidity and strength of this tight composition. As he renders the jockey’’’’’’’’s firm grip on the reigns and the weight of his seat in the saddle, the horse’’’’’’’’s tense energy gathers underneath its hind-quarters, anticipating the momentum, thrust and exhilaration of the race.
Auction: Christie's -Oct 26, 2016 - New-yorkLot number: 57
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Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959) Portrait of Harry La Montagne on a Grey signed 'A.J. MUNNINGS' (lower right) oil on canvas 29 x 36 ¼ in. (73.7 x 92 cm.) Painted in 1920. Munnings stayed with Harry and Beatrice La Montagne at their house, the Villa Regina in Pau, during the autumn of 1923 to paint Mrs. La Montagne’’’’’’’’s portrait on horseback following a recommendation from Baron Robert Rothschild: ‘a good-looking, smart, American woman…This well-turned-out lady was supplied by her devoted husband with superb horses’’’’’’’’ (Sir A.J. Munnings, The Second Burst, Bungay, 1951, p. 100). The portrait was such a success with her husband that he commissioned the artist to execute a complimentary portrait of himself: ‘Christmas was drawing near, and La Montagne, feeling Christmassy, and cheered at the sight of the portrait of his wife in a silk hat and habit, on a bay horse, distant snow-clad mountains and all, wanted me to start on him in scarlet, on a grey. Breaking the news to my wife she replied she didn’’’’’’’’t mind how long I stayed. “Make hay while the sun shines,” said she’’’’’’’’ (Munnings, op. cit., p. 101). Pau, a château at the foot of the Pyrénées, was the birthplace of King Henri IV of France in 1553. The town became popular with the English when the Duke of Wellington's troops found the climate in the area to be most enjoyable. During the 19th century, the area became popular for those seeking the restorative properties of the mild climate and with them came their leisure activities: fox hunting, polo and racing. The Pau hunt was established in 1842 with hounds supplied from a pack in Norfolk, England. Munnings visited Pau on several occasions and painted other equestrian portraits, such as those of Frederick Henry Prince in 1925 (sold at Christie’’’’’’’’s, London, on 3 December 2008) and two American women, Miss Mercedes de Florez (painted circa 1926) and Miss Belle Baruch in 1932. The artist has taken a traditional format of a huntsman riding to hounds and transformed a usually static image into one filled with animation and spontaneity. By positioning the subject high on the horizon he has created a sense of monumentality which is accentuated by the contrast of the vivid, rolling sky with the light grey colour of the horse. His mastery of equine anatomy emphasizes the strength of the horse and imbues a sense of nobility. The muscles are beautifully delineated and he has convincingly portrayed the graceful strides of the horse as it covers the loosely-painted ground. The horse's head is sensitively articulated and displays an exquisite expression of alertness and intelligence. We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos for confirming the authenticity of this work, which will be included in her forthcoming Sir Alfred Munnings catalogue raisonné. Provenance Mr. and Mrs. Harry La Montagne, Pau, France, and later New York and Oyster Bay, NY. Joan Kinney, later Mrs. Arthur Gengler, Southport, CT, their niece, by descent. with Richard Green Gallery, London. Private collection, U.K. Literature Sir A. J. Munnings, The Second Burst, London, 1951, p. 101, illustrated opposite p. 97.
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*Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878 - 1959), ink sketches on a page from an album depicting drinking figures, horse and rider and other sketches, signed - A. J. Munnings, May 1913, the reverse mounted with photography and signatures, in double-sided frame, 23.5cm x 27cm. Provenance: T. W. Gaze, September 1995, the contents of The Grove, Wortham, Suffolk
Alfred James Munnings - General Jack Seely's War Horse Warrior, Who Survived Four Years On The Western Front
Auction: Cheffins -Sep 7, 2016 - CambridgeLot number: 661
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§ Sir Alfred Munnings, PRA (British, 1878-1959) General Jack Seely's war horse Warrior, who survived four years on the Western Front inscribed "Warrior aged 26 / June 1934" and signed "A J Munnings" lower right pencil h:19.50 w:24 cm Provenance: Newmarket collection; Thence by descent Literature: Illustrated in the book 'Warrior : The Amazing Story Of A Real War Horse' by General Jack Seely; illustrated by Sir Alfred Munnings ; introduced by Brough Scott, pub. 2013 (originally published as 'My Horse Warrior' by General Seely), p. 156, with the description by Seely "Here is the Munnings second study of Warrior which he regards as a better portrait. It is Warrior to the life." There is a similar study of Warrior by Munnings on the previous page, which Munnings was not happy with - the description for this illustration reads "Munnings made this first study of Warrior at twenty six years of age this summer. Afterwards he felt that he had made his neck a little too long, so he made a second"
Auction: Christie's -Jul 13, 2016 - LondonLot number: 184
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Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959) February Thaw signed 'A.J. Munnings' (lower left) oil on board 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm.) 1st Viscount Camrose, by 1945, and by descent to the present owner. Sir Alfred Munnings, The Finish, Tiverton, 2001, pp. 106-7, illustrated. London, Royal Academy, 1945, no. 23. London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by Sir Alfred J. Munnings, K.C.V.O., P.P.R.A., March-June 1956, no. 297. Dating from the end of the Second World War, February Thaw was painted near Munnings’’’’’’’’ retreat at Withypool when the artist was dividing his time between Exmoor and London. In many ways it encapsulates the artist at his most bucolically romantic and is a counterpoint to his commitments as President of the Royal Academy in the war-torn capital. Munnings, a countryman at heart, had a particular love of the dramatic and distinctive landscapes around Exmoor in Devon and Withypool in particular, where he and his wife had a house. The works that Munnings produced there have an especially intimate and personal feel since typically they were unsolicited and painted purely for pleasure. In 1940 Castle House, in Dedham, their principal residence, was requisitioned by the army and they decamped to Exmoor on a more permanent basis. He was inspired to capture the local landscape under the ever-changing light conditions. He studied cloud formations and their light and shadowy effects on the landscape below. ‘Am I losing hold on Suffolk and Norfolk?’’’’’’’’ he wrote ‘Is this wild country casting its net over me? Exmoor, with its storms of 'untimely violence' and its gales of wind and rain, can change its face and smile, resuming 'God's gentle, sleeping peace,' so that in the end everybody would stay if they could, or come again as they do.' (Sir A.J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, p. 87). Munnings recorded the creation of the picture in his autobiography recalling ‘One afternoon, walking down a narrow cart-track to (Froude) Bawden’’’’’’’’s farm, looking, as always for visible beauty I saw a scene, now enhanced by the thawing snow and a muddy track. The white pony [called Moonraker] – patiently standing with a group of cattle by the gate next to a stone building, waiting to be let in. I was looking down the slope at this – breathless, surprised...I was, as they say, on the run – all alight to paint the group by the gate… As it grew dusk the picture was all but done' (A.J. Munnings, The Finish, loc. cit.). Munnings acknowledged the help of the farmer’’’’’’’’s wife, Mrs Bawden, in keeping the horse and cattle still, and the painting hung in her parlour until, seeing it again several months later ‘… so well did I like the look of that picture that I made it one of my six for the Academy that year, and it was brought on Private View Day by Lord Camrose, an old friend’’’’’’’’ (Munnings, loc.cit.).