Lot 60
  • 60

Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S.

350,000 - 450,000 USD
504,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • The Second Set
  • signed A.J. Munnings (lower left)
  • oil on panel
  • 14 x 28 inches


Mr. and Mrs. Fortune Peter Ryan (by 1983)
Nicholas Boler, Esq. (and sold by his executors, Christie's, New York, December 5, 2003, lot 117, illustrated)
Richard Green, London
Acquired from the above


New York, Wildenstein, Alfred J. Munnings Images of the Turf and Field, 1983 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Fortune Peter Ryan)

Catalogue Note

From his early childhood, Munnings had loved both horses (owning thirty-four during his lifetime) and the open air.  The two passions fueled an oeuvre of masterworks of animal, rider, and the environment depicted in every season from the heat, color, and crowds of summer’s races to the hushed, subtle autumnal shades of the stable yard depicted in the present work. Painted while the artist and his wife were at Withypool, Exmoor during World War II (see lot 64), the horses of The Second Set may be Rufus, the chestnut described by the artist as “quite one of the best… well bred… so tractable and intelligent and lovable,” Anarchist, “a big fine old 16.2—such a sort— beautifully fit and clipped,” and Cherrybounce (see lot 63).  The trio appear in Winter Exercise (11 ½ by 19 ½ in., private collection) exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1947, while Anarchist and Cherrybounce are seen in an oil study of the stables at Withypool (The Munnings Art Museum, Castle House, Dedham), the roof bearing a close resemblance to the structure in the present work as well as Morning Exercise (sold in these rooms May 9, 2014, lot 97) (Sir Alfred Munnings, The Finish, London, 1952, pp. 66, 71). Selected for The Second Set, the horses patiently wait for exercising riders to return so they may have their turn. These frieze-like compositions were often painted by the artist as they allowed for multiple “portraits” of his favorite horses, well studied but not static in pose as he paints pricked years and eyes focused on a groom (the stable lad of the Delaney boys, see lot 63) or looking out directly at the viewer suggesting both the animals' personality and ready energy.