The Gypsy Camp - Evening
signed 'A.J. MUNNINGS' (lower right)
oil on canvas
2014 x 2414 in. (50.8 x 61.6 cm.)
with Frost and Reed, London.
with Arthur Ackermann & Son, London.
Private Collection.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 10 October 1973, lot 76.
with Richard Green, London.
Anonymous sale; Fasig-Tipton and Cross Gate Gallery, Saratoga Springs, 8 August 1997, lot 113, where purchased by the previous owner.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 24 May 2017, lot 78, where purchased by the present owner.
Denver, The Denver Art Museum, 600 Years of British Painting, The Berger Collection at the Denver Art Museum, October 1998 - March 1999.
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Lot Essay

Along with hunting and racing scenes, depictions of gypsies remained a consistent theme in Munnings's work throughout his career. Romany horse dealers and brilliantly painted gypsy caravans appeared as details in his work from as early as 1902. However, from 1913 until the 1920s, Munnings travelled to Binstead in Hampshire for six weeks each autumn to paint the itinerant workers who gathered there to pick hops. He was introduced to the subject by his friend Olive Branson, a fellow artist, who would travel to Binstead every September in a gilded caravan to paint the hop-picking activities.

From the beginning, Munnings was captivated by the colour and nomadic life of the gypsies and befriended many of the families. In his autobiography he recalled that 'more glamour and excitement were packed into those six weeks than a painter could well contend with. I still have visions of brown faces, black hair, earrings, black hats and black skirts; of lithe figures of women and children, of men with lurcher dogs and horses of all kinds. I still recall the never-ceasing din around their fires as the sun went down, with blue smoke curling amongst the trees. I think of crowded days of work – too swiftly gone.” (A.J. Munnings, An Artists Life, London, 1950, p. 287). Such an atmosphere is evoked in the present work depicting a family of gypsies gathered under a twilight sky near a campfire, from which rise vibrant flames and blue smoke.

We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos, the Curatorial staff at The Munnings Museum and Tristram Lewis for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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