The Art of Horse Power by Munnings the Equine Master

Alfred MunningsA rare and exciting painting by Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959), capturing his originality and eye for equine movement sold for £190,400 in an auction of 20th Century British Art at Bonhams in New Bond Street on Tuesday 11 July 2006. Titled Helter Skelter, the name of this work clearly describes the scene – a beautiful, powerful, energetic and yet delicate work. It is a masterpiece of observation showing a medley of ponies cresting a hill, in a frenzy of excitement.

This painting is scarce for a Munnings work as the artist has used watercolours with scratching out. Munnings watercolours are relatively rare having given up the medium in the early 1920s. He exhibited at the Royal Institute from 1899-1916 and in 1921 he switched to the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours where he exhibited until 1937.

Munnings explored this theme of horses approaching the viewer at a three-quarter angle testing his technical acumen of anatomy, the visual mechanics of equine motion and his faultless sense of perspective. This was in direct response to his viewing of the renowned Colt Hunting in the New Forest (RA 1897) that earned Lucy Kemp Welch national acclaim.

Sir Alfred James Munnings is one of the great masters of sporting and equestrian art. Born at Mendham, Suffolk, he was a countryman through and through, who lived and worked within the traditional farming community in East Anglia. His love of horses is legendary and he was a keen follower of racing and the local hunts.

A stunning bronze of a ‘Rolling over Horse’ by Dame Elisabeth Frink R.A (1930-1993) produced in 1978 in bronze with a dark brown patina sold for £74,400 and Earth Verticals by Sir Terry Frost sold for £92,960 soaring past its estimate at £25,000-35,000.

For more details visit the Bonhams
web site.

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