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Exhibitions

Behind the Lines:
Alfred Munnings, War Artist, 1918

23rd March to 3rd November 2019

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In 1918 Alfred Munnings was appointed as a war artist in France for the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and later for the Canadian Forestry Corps. At the war’s end his paintings from France were bought by the Canadian government and are now in the collection of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

In the centenary year of their first exhibition at the Royal Academy, London in 1919, the Munnings Art Museum is privileged to have on loan from Canada forty-one of these war paintings. The vibrant colours and painterly style of these works is a striking contrast to the familiar black and white images of World War I. It is a rare opportunity to see these works, alongside sketches and paintings from The Munnings Art Museum’s own collection.

Munnings’ war works were much admired at the time and proved to be pivotal in the development of his career, helping to transform him from a successful provincial artist to one of international renown.

In his later life Sir Alfred Munnings reflected “I have often wondered had there been no 1914-18 war whether painting people on horseback would have absorbed the greater part of my efforts in the years that followed”.

The exhibition has been developed by the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, in partnership with The Munnings Art Museum and generously supported by The Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation.

Main Rooms

23rd March to 3rd November 2019

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The Munnings Art Museum is at Castle House, the former home of the artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) and his wife, Violet. Described by Munnings as ‘the house of my dreams’, he lived and worked in this elegant Tudor and Georgian building for over forty years until his death in 1959. The House, garden, artist’s studio and Garden Café are set in forty acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale on the borders of Suffolk and Essex. The museum owns the largest collection of art works by this prolific East Anglian painter and former President of the Royal Academy (1944-1949).

Alfred Munnings is considered to be a major figure in the great tradition of British horse painting and is celebrated for his depiction of English rural life and landscapes. The museum’s carefully curated displays ensure that there is always a fully representative selection of his art on display, ranging from his childhood drawings to last works. Visitors to the museum have the opportunity to experience Munnings’ passion for the rural traditions and landscapes of East Anglia and Cornwall which he captured on canvas and develop an understanding of the talent and skill he used to convey the explosive energy of the racing scenes for which he is now globally renowned.

In the main rooms of the museum around 150 pictures are hung chronologically so that visitors can better understand the life and work of the artist. The furniture, objects and personal items belonging to Sir Alfred and Lady Munnings remain in situ and the museum welcomes visitors to sit and enjoy the ambience of their home.

Studio

Open 23rd March to 3rd November 2019

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In the garden, visitors will find Munnings’ studio which houses his painting materials and props. In 2019, there will also be a display of horseracing pictures “Painting Winners”, featuring studies and finished paintings from the racecources at Epsom and Newmarket.

Adjoining the studio is the Café serving delicious homemade treats. The museum shop has a range of books, unique gifts and souvenirs.