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Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)
Property from the Collection of Montgomery “Montie” H.W. Ritchie
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)

Study of a Racehorse

Details
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)
Study of a Racehorse
oil on panel
11 7/8 x 17 in. (30.2 x 43.2 cm.)
Provenance
Miss Audrey Bacon
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 10 November 1988, lot 284, as Study of a Race Horse.
with Frost and Reed, London.

Condition Report

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Lot Essay

This present work is illustrative of Munnings’ practice of getting to know his subject. He would generally make a study such as this to get to know the specifics of the horse he was to paint. He never painted a generic horse but rather one with a distinctive character and form. This type of study would also have been used to experiment with light effects on the horse’s coat. The glossy sheen of the coat tells of a sunny day with blue sky as noted by the pastel highlights especially on the shoulder, neck and tail. The green of the unseen grass is echoed on the legs and neck.

Although Munnings vehemently spoke out against the distortions of the modern movement of his day, he did follow the impressionist color theory using reflected light. In fact, Augustus John is said to have challenged Munnings by saying that if one wanted to paint a brown horse why not simply paint it brown. Munnings's aesthetic response was that a horse in the sun is filled with the colors of its surroundings.

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, and for contributing the catalogue note.

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