Does the Subject Matter? by Sir Alfred Munnings



Title

Does the Subject Matter?

Artist

Sir Alfred Munnings

Ref GM693
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 24" x 16" (60 x 40 cm)
Price Add to basket
Description  
Alfred Munnings is a well-known twentieth century British artist who was steeped in traditional views of art and publicly condemned modern art for its distinct lack of craftsmanship and hard work. 'Does the Subject Matter?' is a fantastic visual expression of Munnings’ strong objection towards modern art and it was first shown to the public when it was selected to be displayed in the Royal Academy’s Summer Show in 1956. It was hung in a highly inconspicuous position but it became the season’s most talked-about picture. This satirical painting was influenced by the last Annual Banquet which Munnings attended before his retirement as President of the Royal Academy in 1949. Controversially, at the Annual Banquet, Munnings gave a speech condemning modern art and quite simply asked “What are pictures for? To fill a man’s soul with admiration and joy, not to bewilder and daze him?” This magnificent painting has a significant connection to Munnings outspoken views and loathing of modern art. This painting infuriated art critics as Munnings had satirised many well-known figures in the art world and the title “Does the Subject Matter?” is notably provocative. The content of this painting is focused on a group of art connoisseurs who are examining an indeterminable piece of contemporary artwork, which is thought to be one of Barbara Hepworth’s bronze Picasso-inspired sculptures of the 1950’s. On the rear wall is a representation of three paintings, which the Tate Gallery had newly acquired, by Picasso who was despised by Munnings for his connection to modern art.