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Sir Alfred James Munnings
Dates: British, 1878 - 1959
Biographical Account:

Alfred Munnings was known as one of Britain’s finest painters of horses. He was born in 1878 at Mendham in Suffolk.

 

At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Page Brothers a printing company, where he designed advertising posters. In his spare time he studied at Norwich School of Art.

 

After his apprenticeship he stayed in Norfolk, where he had his first studio and began painting rural scenes, village life, hunting scenes and race horses. He later moved to Cornwall, where he became friends with Harold and Laura Knight

 

During the Fist World War he volunteered to join the army, but due to losing the sight in one eye several years earlier, he was deemed unfit to fight. Instead he was assigned a civilian job processing horses on their way to France. He also became an Official War Artist, painting scenes of battle not far from the enemy front lines. He witnessed many battles and came under shellfire himself.

 

After the war he received many painting commissions, which enabled him to travel extensively both abroad and around the United Kingdom.

 

In 1944 Munnings was knighted and that same year became president of Royal Academy of Art. His departing speech in 1949 became famous for his strong views on Modernism, he was against the work of Picasso, Cézanne and Matisse and believed it had corrupted art.

 

He died in 1959 in Essex.
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