Sir Alfred Munnings (1878–1959) is considered one of England’s preeminent historical artists, known for his deft depictions of horses and equestrians as well as bucolic vignettes of the Suffolk countryside. A champion of traditional modes of painting, Munnings was the president of the Royal Academy of Arts and a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. Highly awarded in his lifetime and still lauded today, his 1910 work is a premier example of his work and style. With an estimate of £300,000–£500,000, the painting is one of the gems of the forthcoming Spring Fine Art and Antiques Sale at Sloane Street Auctions.
Scheduled for the afternoon of April 27, 2023, Sloane Street Auctions’ spring sale presents an incredible range of art and antiques, from Old Master and Modern British painting to selections of Indian, Islamic, and Asian art and antiquities from prestigious private collections. With lots on view and registration open April 13 through April 27, the sale is a veritable jewel box of rare and important lots from around the world. In addition to the exquisite work by Munnings, below are just a few of the highlights from the sale.
Attributed to Giovanni Paolo Panini
Italian painter, or “view painter,” Giovanni Paolo Panini was an artist and architect who worked primarily in Rome in the 18th century. His pioneering use of perspective—inspired no doubt by his experience with architecture—resulted in an oeuvre that went on to influence both his contemporaries and subsequent generations of genre painters as an Old Master. His most acclaimed works include interior views of the Pantheon as well as picture galleries, which introduced to painting perspectives that exceed the range of vision of the human eye. According to catalogue entry of the present masterwork, the painting illustrates “The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 28, verses 1-6. Paul, on his way to stand trial in Rome, is shipwrecked on Malta with other prisoners.”
Another Italian masterpiece in the auction, Niccolò Codazzi’s is a premier example of the o painting style. painting refers to compositions that focus on an architectural fantasy. Combining fictional architectural components with elements of archeological ruins, the painting conveys an idealized landscape rife with symbolism and imagination. Niccolò Codazzi was an Italian painter specializing in this specific type of painting and was active in Rome, Paris, and Genoa in the 17th century. At one point in his career, he was commissioned by King Louis XIV of France to create architecture-focused landscapes for the Palace of Versailles. The present lot illustrates Codazzi’s imaginative skill, and mastery of light and shadow.
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a French painter and sculptor who worked primarily in the early 20th century. A self-taught artist, his work is recognized for its coarse, straightforward style. The present graphite-on-paper nude work by Gaudier-Brzeska hails from a large, single-owner collection of nude studies within the spring sale, including work by other well-known artists such as Louise Nevelson, Francis Newton Souza, Pietro Annigoni, and Ivon Hitchens, among others. Gaudier-Brzeska, both the current nude drawing and his oeuvre on the whole, are significant in that they were developed at the time and within the context of the early French avant-garde.
Krishnaji Howlaji Ara
Indian artist Krishnaji Howlaji Ara, commonly known as K. H. Ara, was a 20th-century painter who is widely considered the first contemporary artist in India to focus his work almost exclusively on the female nude. A member of the Bombay-based Progressive Artists’ Group, Ara’s practice was in its time critically divisive, as he was known for not working from references and it exemplified a more expressionistic style rather than emphasizing precision. One of a pair of nudes—the present lot’s partner is also titled —within the forthcoming sale, this watercolor on paper composition highlights Ara’s penchant for whimsical composition and ethereal colorwork.
Representing more contemporary artwork in the sale, British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor has become world-famous for his conceptual art and large-scale installation work. The recipient of such prestigious awards as the Premio Duemila Prize and the Turner Prize, Kapoor’s practice frequently references states of being, and ideas around matter and non-matter. One of his most famous works, (2006), relies on material reflection to engage with perceptions of presence. These endeavors extend to his works on paper, like in the present lot, which evokes through a combination of representative and abstract means the transformation of matter.