Sir Alfred James Munnings P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)
May blossoms, Stoke-by-Nayland signed 'A.J. Munnings' (lower left); titled and dated '1930' (on stretcher) oil on panel 20 x 24in (50.8 x 61cm)
PROVENANCE: The artist by 1956; Rev. Harvey W. Thursby, thence by descent; The National Horse Racing Museum, Newmarket, Thursby Bequest; Private American collection acquired 1991; Sale, Sotheby's New York, December 5, 2002, lot 137.
Munnings' delight in nature is clearly evident in this work. During his career, Munnings frequently painted Spring gorse bushes, abundant with their tiny clusters of white flowers. Here, he summarily depicted some foreground and background details but his attention was focused on capturing the brilliant sunlight radiating off the white foliage. Painting en plein air, his exuberance for the dazzling blossoms encouraged him to apply white paint in quick dabs to quickly capture the sun's effects. As paint transferred from brush to panel and the strokes became less dense and drier, some of the branches were expressed as wispy smudges. This result gives a shimmering, translucent effect as if the flowers were dancing in a soft breeze, intermittently catching the sunlight thereby creating movement and spontaneity within this landscape.
The spontaneity of the brushwork is undoubtedly a reflection of the artist's joy for the newness of Spring and his desire to capture the vibrancy and ever changing light of Nature.
We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos for confirming the attribution to Sir Alfred Munnings and for cataloguing this work which will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Sir Alfred Munnings.