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<Kentucky Derby Party

Sir Alfred Munnings - Exercising, Early Morning Newmarket

Item #: AR2001 - In Stock
Classic horse racing image by the master of  sporting art, Sir Alfred Munnings
• Open Edition Print
• Printed in England
• Image 16" x 24" Paper 20" x 27" (unframed)
Regular Price: $49.00
Our Price: $24.50
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Artist Info
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Sir Alfred Munnings 
British (1878-1959)

Munnings was born into a miller's family at Mendham, Suffolk , on October 8th, 1878 . At fourteen he was apprenticed to a Norwich printer, designing and drawing advertising posters over six years. In the evenings he attended the Norwich School of Art. By 1899, he had exhibited two paintings at the Royal Academy .
While living in Mendham, Munnings painted many scenes of country life, particularly horse fairs. He went to Cornwall in 1908, and for many years was an important addition to the Newlyn School of artists. When the First World War broke out, Munnings enlisted, despite having the use of only one eye owing to an accident in 1899. He became an army horse trainer near Reading and later went to France as an official war artist, attached to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.
After the war, art dealers and connoisseurs noted him as a promising painter; his works sold well and from 1899 onwards they were hung occasionally in the Royal Academy . The young artist lived boisterously, sometimes paying debts with sketches. Munnings married Violet McBride and settled permanently at Castle House, in Dedham , Suffolk . Concentrating particularly upon equestrian work, he was so successful in what was, at the time, an unfashionable field that he rose from his relatively humble beginnings to become both a knight and the President of the Royal Academy between 1944 and 1949.

Munnings was an enthusiastic horseman and most of his greatest works featured either the racecourse or the hunt. His sporting scenes have developed a reputation as being amongst the greatest of twentieth century. He also painted very personal interpretations of the English countryside, as well as portraits, but these themes tended to be eclipsed by his tremendous success as a sporting artist.


Munnings’s reputation was always slightly tarnished for contemporary critics because of his very blunt, strong minded personality and his opposition to the abstract work which was becoming increasingly popular but, more recently, he has received the acclaim his outstanding work deserves.
With Stubbs and Herring, Munnings is one of a trio of the greatest sporting artists of all time.


His best original paintings now sell for figures in excess of $1,000,000. Munnings’s work is now on display at many of the most prestigious galleries and museums in the world.

His home in Dedham is not the Munnings Museum and a local pub has been named after hime (a rare distinction!)

Munnings PortraitSir Alfred Munnings Portrait of a Young Artist
 
By 1919 Munnings had be introduced to a new pleasure, the Sport of Kings. Although he had been to races from time to time during his youth, it was only when he entered the charmed circle of owners, trainers and breeders that he became a passionate devotee of the sport. He was commissioned to paint the aristocracy of horses as well as people. Munnings passion was the country and its way of life. Exercising, Early Morning Newmarket shows this passion. It concentrates on the unique atmosphere of the horse riding and the beauty of the horses in the country.
 
Munnings was always concerned to record a particular effect of light or a cloud formation or the movement of a horse. This painting shows the horses quite relaxed unlike Munnings more well-known paintings that show the start of a race, with the horses bunched together, tense and restless. Newmarket is the home of horse racing and Munnings was very fond of the place along with Epsom, remarking for me, Epsom expresses the true meaning of the words The Races! For many people, it is Munnings work that captures the spirit of these words.
 
It is no exaggeration to call Munnings the greatest equestrian artist since Stubbs. He was a great popular hero, and his work consistently sells for more than any other British painter of his generation. Indeed, much of his best work comes from his early years in Norfolk when he was free of financial worries.
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