Alfred James Munnings Biography | Oil Paintings

10-8-1878 Mendham, ENG - 7-17-1959 Dedham, ENG

Munnings, Alfred James

From the age of fourteen to twenty, Alfred James Munnings was apprenticed to a Norwich printer, designing and drawing advertising posters, and attended the Norwich School of Art in his spare time. When his apprenticeship ended, he turned into a full-time painter. In 1898 at the age of twenty-one, he lost sight in his right eye due to an accident, but it did not diminish his determination to paint. The following year two of his oil paintings were shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He was associated with the Newlyn School of painters, and while there met Florence Carter-Wood, a young horsewoman, and painter. They married in 1912 and she tried to kill herself on their honeymoon, she had a relationship with Captain Gilbert Evans, and when he left for overseas service in 1914, she took cyanide and killed herself, she was twenty-five.

Although he volunteered to join the Army, Alfred Munnings was assessed as unfit to fight due to his eyesight. In 1917, his participation in the war was limited to a civilian job, processing tens of thousands of Canadian horses for the army in France, and later, he was assigned to one of the horse remount depots on the Western Front. Munnings' talent was employed as a war artist to a Canadian Cavalry Brigade often working a few thousand yards from the German front lines.

Alfred Munnings was elected president of the Royal Academy of Art and awarded a knighthood in 1944. His presidency is best known for the valedictory speech he gave in 1949 when he was intoxicated, a broadcast heard by millions of listeners on BBC radio in which he attacked modernism in art, stating that the works of Paul Cézanne, Henry Matisse and Picasso had corrupted art.

His immensely popular equestrian and sporting artworks have enjoyed popularity in the United States as well as the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In 2007, the Alfred James Munnings painting The Red Prince Mare was sold at auction for US$7,900,000, far above his previous auction record of $4,300,000 set at auction in 1999 for Lord and Lady Mildmay of Flete.

Art Movement: Newlyn School.
He Traveled To France.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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