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PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S.
AFTER THE STEEPLECHASE AT NEWBURY
ACCÉDER AU LOT
50

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S.
AFTER THE STEEPLECHASE AT NEWBURY
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

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Londres

Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S.
1878-1959
AFTER THE STEEPLECHASE AT NEWBURY

Provenance

Christie's, 11 October 1974, lot 187;
Private collection

Description

'The one subject of all that I longed to put on canvas was to be called "After the Race". It is far easier to write of what I wanted to express in paint than to begin and finish a picture, alive with moving drama... After the race! That should be my picture! As the field sweeps by the winning-post I am already hurrying to the scene, which is over all to quickly... A winter afternoon with bright sun; - I love the winter sunlight - many horses are returning after a steeplechase. With extended nostrils and quivering tails, they come to a stand; the jockeys, dropping their reins, dismount and unsaddle, and all too soon the steaming horses are led away and the scene is ended.' (Sir Alfred Munnings, The Finish, 1952, p.284)

This wonderfully passionate and detailed description of the scene that Munnings depicted several times around 1946 and 1947, evokes the fleeting moment that he wanted to capture. According to his autobiography, Munnings painted at least three more similar scenes, which appear to be After the Race, Cheltenham, After the Race; Going to Weigh-in (Christie's, 9 May 1984, lot 143) and his Royal Academy exhibit of 1946 After the Race. The present picture was apparently painted in 1947 and depicts the course at Newbury. At this time Munnings was overwhelmed by his official responsibilities as President of the Royal Academy and painted fewer pictures. However, the subject that he most wanted to master was the aftermath of the race. It was a subject that he had not painted before as it was much easier to paint the horses at the start of a race where they were gathered at the start-line and could be studied more leisurely; at the finish-line the artist had to move much more quickly before the horses were taken away. On one occasion in Newmarket he painted the moment after six races held in one afternoon and attempted to combine them into one composition - an effect that was not convincing. 

The composition of the present work is very similar to Going out at Epsom (Sotheby's, New York, 2 December 2005, lot 136) painted in 1931 with the horses shown against the background of the tote-stand and the white fences holding back the crowd.

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

|
Londres