Sir Alfred Munnings: Painting Winners

18th August 2017

A breathtaking new exhibition

We are delighted to have partnered with The Munnings Art Museum to present

Studies for Southern Hero, oil on board. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings Studies for Southern Hero, oil on board. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings

this wonderful new exhibition that looks closely into Sir Alfred Munnings’ work and how it has been influenced by Newmarket and racing scenes. Open from 23rd August – April 2018.

Sir Alfred Munnings ranks among the very best equestrian artists, with an ability to almost sculpt the figure of a horse in paint. This exhibition, Painting Winners, will demonstrate the lengths Munnings would go to in order to depict his subject matter. Drawings, sketchbooks, studies and the finished piece will display the methodology that Munnings used to create his masterpieces. Through his writings, this exhibition also highlights the artist’s angst, ‘the tortured artist’, in trying to achieve a true likeness of a thoroughbred horse which would be scrutinised by patron and horse lovers alike.

Painting Winners focuses on Munnings’ connection to Newmarket and how his

Exercising the Horses (c) The estate of Sir Alfred Munnings Exercising the Horses (c) The estate of Sir Alfred Munnings

paintings were clearly inspired by the world-renown racing town. This is not only demonstrated in his work but also in his writing such as a recently discovered poem, ‘I’ll fly away at midnight, whilst a star will lead me on along the broad highway Towards Newmarket for another day.’

Munnings’ paintings of horses being trained on Newmarket Heath illustrate how the artist reverts back to his impressionistic style of painting, in contrast to his earlier commissions. Some of his most recognised works, including Munnings’ favourite subject: the start of the race, are on display along with studies of Newmarket Racecourse. These are complimented by paintings of empty stands and paddocks on race days that evoke visions of the course before the mayhem of the meet.

The exhibition is brought to life with a display of Munnings’ tools of his trade such as his palette, smock and brushes, to create an exciting new exhibition of this celebrated artist.

Chris Garibaldi, director of the National Heritage Centre said;

An Unfinished Sketch of 'The Start', done in Studio on Heath after Racing. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings An Unfinished Sketch of 'The Start', done in Studio on Heath after Racing. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings

We are very excited to be hosting this new exhibition. Sir Alfred Munnings’ work is of extraordinary quality, and this exhibition highlights the profound influence Newmarket had on his work. There is a very special relationship with Munnings and the site at the Heritage Centre that used to be owned by the Rothschild family, who commissioned him to paint their racehorses. Unfortunately these works were destroyed in a bombing during the war and Munnings regarded it as one of the great tragedies of his working life that these pictures were lost. It feels as though this exhibition very much belongs here in Newmarket and we are incredibly grateful to be working in partnership with The Munnings Art Museum.

Dr Bill Teatheredge, Curatorial Associate at The Munnings Art Museum and curator of this exhibition said:

Munnings was often tormented by the need to produce a near photogenic likeness

Studies for Southern Hero. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings Studies for Southern Hero. (c) Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings

of a thoroughbred horse. This exhibition explores how he refined his impressionistic techniques and then indulged them in his passion for all things Newmarket.”

Jenny Hand, Director of The Munnings Art Museum said:

There is no better place to celebrate Sporting Art at its best than in Newmarket. We feel extremely privileged to be exhibiting this number of Munnings racing pictures, from our collection in Dedham, in the home of horseracing. We hope that race and art lovers alike will discover more about Munnings, man and artist.”

If you are interested in visiting The Munnings Museum in Dedham, Essex CLICK HERE to visit their website.