Sir Alfred James Munnings
1878 - 1959
Munnings is reckoned by many to be one of England's finest painters, known not only as an equestrian artist par excellence, but also, as then president of the Royal Academy of Arts, one who famously slated the modernist movement live on radio in his farewell speech, whilst clearly inebriated!
An interesting stance in hindsight, as his own style was often as much about the rough, impressionistic brushstrokes as it was the subject. I remain in awe of how so few brushstrokes can convey so much.
Equally though, he also took quite a classical approach with composition, with many of his horse portraits having more than a touch of George Stubbs about them - maybe that's why I like his work so much.
Starting his working life as an apprentice to a printer in Norwich, designing advertising posters for six years, Munnings then moved on to become a full-time painter. Meeting his first wife Florence Carter-Wood at the Newlyn School of painters, their tragic marriage lasted just two years, when Florence killed herself.
Five years later, Munnings purchased Castle House at Dedham, in which he lived and worked for the rest of his life, remarrying in 1920, to another horsewoman, Violet McBride. Despite some notable commissions from high society, and opportunities for more, Munnings became best known for his depictions of horses, in particular those set in hunting and racing scenes.
His work remains immensely popular, and ever increasing in value, with 'The Red Prince Mare' reaching a sale price of almost $8m in 2007.
|Fine Horse Portraits||