Sir Alfred James Munnings, PRA, RWS (British, 1878-1959) Pigs in a farm yard 20 1/4 x 24 1/4in (51.5 x 61.5cm)
Lot 98
Sir Alfred James Munnings, PRA, RWS
(British, 1878-1959)
Pigs in a farm yard 20 1/4 x 24 1/4in (51.5 x 61.5cm)
US$ 80,000 - 120,000
£60,000 - 90,000

Lot Details
Sir Alfred James Munnings, PRA, RWS (British, 1878-1959)
Pigs in a farm yard
signed 'A.J. Munnings' (lower right); inscribed 'Bought from Sir Alfred Munnings at his Dedham studio castle house 1953 AMC' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
20 1/4 x 24 1/4in (51.5 x 61.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Ronald Eric Brothers, Croydon, England, (thought to have acquired it directly from the artist, 1953);
    Thence by descent to the present owner.

    Munnings painted about a dozen works that contain pigs. Many of these works were painted at Great Thurloe, in the south-west of Suffolk. The Stour river, that he frequently painted, actually runs through the village so it was a location that was familiar to him. Great Thurloe was also just a few miles from Newmarket.

    Munnings recalls in his memoirs that while he was painting the famous racehorse Mahmoud in the mid 1930's, he ventured with Fred Ewell, a fellow Royal Academician, to Great Thurloe Hall specifically to paint Mr. Ryder's pigs. Munnings recalls that his friend painted the swine indoors while Munnings naturally painted his subjects outside en plein air. He obviously liked these subjects as he included a pig picture in his memoir A Second Burst, after page 264. In addition, he wrote a ballad about pigs titled The Tale of the Gloucester Spot. Along with cows, he considered pigs very paintable subjects.

    Many of the pig pictures in Munnings' oeuvre, show the swine foraging under trees where dappled light rained down on the pink coats of the pigs. As Munnings was particularly interested in the light's reflection off of various surfaces, it is not surprising that the pale, bald skin of the pigs was a surface to be explored. This present work shows the largest drift of young pigs, that are known in Munnings' oeuvre, and the creatures are in direct sunshine.

    To capture the wiggling piglets and fleeting light effects, Munnings quickly laid down his pigments in broad fluid stokes. Despite the impressionistic manner of his brushstrokes he has articulated the creatures as they busily scrounge for food. The 'Y' shape arrangement of the pigs draws the eye back into the yard to disclose a hay-rick and other barnyard animals beyond. The same distant elements are repeated in other paintings and compared in the book's illustration.

    We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos for confirming the authenticity of this work, which will be included in the forthcoming Munnings catalogue raisonné, and for contributing the cataloguing note.
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