Sporting Art sales in New York feature hunting scene masterworks
By Renée Harrison Drake
In November, collectors look to New York to see what Sotheby’s and Christie’s will offer in their sporting art sales. Top collectors in the field will gather to compete for traditional English racing and hunting scenes as well as more contemporary wildlife art works. Sporting art has historically been an internationally competitive field with particularly strong sales in London, Scotland and Ireland; however, Americans now participate with equal enthusiasm and the market for works by European masters such as Sir Alfred Munnings and John Frederick Herring (both British) and Christophe Fratin (French) remains strong here.
Notable highlights this year include the spectacular Frederick Henry Prince, Master of the Foxhounds of the Pau Hunt by Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) that will be offered at Christie’s on Dec. 3. Munnings’ works are highly sought after by museums and private collectors alike and this picture is sure to garner fierce competition. The highly successful composition depicts a master of foxhounds astride a magnificent gray and white thoroughbred surrounded by a pack of eager hounds on the scent of their quarry. The masterful brushwork for which Munnings has been celebrated achieves the dynamic impression of movement of both the rider and his hounds. The theater the viewer is drawn into is complemented by the atmospheric symphony of grays and blues in the sky and a small but effective slash of green surrounding a distant manor house, all set perfectly behind the eye catching figure of the Master outfitted in his brilliant red riding coat. Undoubtedly a masterpiece of the genre, this oil painting clearly stands out as the major highlight of the two sales and will be offered with an estimate of $1.2 to $1.8 million.