EXHIBITION – In 1956, the woodsman Ted Floate met Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) quite by chance but ended up managing the artist’s estate while also helping with framing and even giving other technical advice.
The pair became close companions until Hitchens' death in 1979 and the artist regularly gave Ted paintings and drawings that he particularly liked.
Now, at the age of 85, Ted has decided to sell the works through Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham and Jeremy Green of Canon Gallery. Ted actually features in one of the paintings, The Two Woodsmen, 1956, pictured here.
Goldmark Gallery will host the exhibition of 10 previously unseen oil paintings, plus other drawings and a watercolour, at 14 Orange Street in Uppingham, Rutland, from March 15 for three weeks.
"He was a standalone figure in landscape painting, working in situ and capturing the moods and colours of the scene before him," says Jeremy of Hitchens. "No one else was working in this manner; some artists were working in a more realistic manner, but Hitchens was not trying to be realistic, he was trying to capture a vision of his own. His influence on British painting was enormous and can still be felt today.
"There has never been an exhibition of so many Hitchens which have come from one owner, especially an owner who had such a close affinity to Hitchens. That is relevant to the whole country, not only Rutland."
Prices range from £70,000 to £120,000 and the show is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, including an essay by Peter Khoroche, an authority on Hitchens, alongside a DVD of interviews with Ted Floate.
Last November, an artist auction record of £242,500 (including premium) was set for Hitchens at Christie's London.