NEW YORK, NY.- Christies is pleased announced the sale of Sporting and Wildlife Art on December 3 offering collectors a fine selection of equine portraits, hunting and racing paintings from distinguished private collections and sculptures. Consisting of 171 lots, the sale presents works of art by the masters of the medium, including Sir Alfred James Munnings, John Frederick Herring, Sen., Bob Kuhn and Wilhelm Frederich Kuhnert, with estimates ranging from $2,000 to $1,200,000.
Leading the sale is an impressive portrait by Sir Alfred James Munnings from the Estate of William and Eleanor Wood Prince entitled F.H. Prince and the Pau Foxhounds (estimate: $1.2-1.8 million). Although painted in America, this shows Mr. Prince riding his grey hunter with foxhounds at Pau, his château near the Pyrénées in France. The Prince family were one of Munnings' most important American patrons and the painting was one of five commissioned by the family. Furthermore, it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1925.
Other paintings by Munnings include Off to the start (estimate: $350,000-550,000), an exquisite sketch showing his ability to convey the tense energy of the horses before the race; Before the races, Derby Day, (estimate: $400,000-600,000), a rural scene depicting a group of gypsies with greyhounds and ponies beside a caravan; and The Devon and Somerset Staghounds, an unusual watercolor illustrating the moorland landscape as well as the atmosphere of the hunt (estimate: $100,000- 150,000).
Other highlights of the sale are many exceptional works by John Frederick Herring, Sen. Leading this group is Boroughbridge Horse Fair (estimate: $700,000- 1,000,000). The large-scale work dated 1858 illustrates the annual event and Herring's observation of equine life is perfectly demonstrated with an energetic scene of carthorses, hunters, and thoroughbreds. Herring has also included a charming self-portrait, standing to the right wearing a dark green frock coat and black top hat. Also included in the sale is Lucetta, Sir Mark Wood's bay filly, before the start (estimate: $350,000-500,000), the well-known racehorse in exquisite detail on a racetrack with other horses in the distance showing Herring's masterful sense of perspective; and two paintings from the Estate of Arthur I. Appleton: Lottery, at the start (estimate: $350,000-500,000) and Mr. Richard Watt's racehorse Memnon, a bright bay, William Scott up, wearing the harlequin silks of Lord Darlington (estimate: $200,000-300,000) painted in 1825.
The Wildlife Art section will offer over 30 portraits and animal sculptures and will be led by A cry to the wild (estimate: $200,000-300,000) painted by Bob Kuhn, considered to be one of the most influential wildlife artists of our time. The sale also contains several large-scale works by the German artist Wilhelm Kuhnert including A lion in flight (estimate: $180,000-220,000) and A herd of elephants fleeing from a bush fire (estimate: $180,000- 220,000). Both illustrate Kuhnert's considerable artistic talent for depicting the exotic wildlife of Africa in their natural habitats.