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.