Bonhams, will sell the largest single owner collection of paintings by Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) ever to be offered – some 15 oil paintings produced over three decades on May 28th in New Bond Street, London.
The collection is estimated in excess of half a million pounds. Bonhams is the third largest international fine art auction house.
Ivon Hitchens the son of a painter, and the father and grandfather of painters, started exhibiting in the 1920s going on to exhibit all over the world. He was part of the collection of artists known as the London Group. When his house was bombed during WW2 he took up residence in a caravan on a patch of woodland near Petworth in West Sussex where he worked for the next forty years. Over the years he added to his encampment with a series of buildings. He is best known for his panoramic landscape images using strong blocks of colour. He was exhibited in the British Pavilion at the 1956 Venice Biennale.
One of the Hitchens paintings in this sale is titled ‘Foliage by Water No 5’ seven versions of which appeared in his Tate retrospective.
Hitchens felt that his greatest recognition came with the retrospective exhibition of his work at the Tate Gallery, organised by the Arts Council to mark his seventieth birthday… Eight thousand people saw the show in the five weeks before it was reassembled, in a reduced form, first at Bradford and then Birmingham.
One of the most important Hitchens works in this collection is titled ‘Spring Mood 2’, signed and dated ‘1933/Ivon Hitchens’ and is estimated to sell for £50,000-70,000. The 1963 Arts Council exhibition council notes that the related composition ‘Spring Moods’ was ‘Painted looking out of the window of the artist’s studio in Adelaide Road, Hampstead’.
An early work from 1940-42, ‘White Gladioli’ is estimated at £60,000-80,000 and was exhibited at The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh in 1959.
Another powerful painting titled ‘Arched Bridge Over a River’ signed and dated ‘1965’ is estimated at £50,000-70,000.
This collection of 15 of his works are from the Estate of Elizabeth Creak who died last year and will be sold to benefit the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust to provide scholarships in agriculture to support new blood in farming and to finance projects to help farmers survive and thrive in the challenging modern agricultural environment. Elizabeth Creak was born in 1926 and attended McGill University in Canada before working for Penguin Books in America. She returned to the UK to eventually work with her uncle, Clyde Higgs, who had built up a thriving 2000 acre dairy farm in Warwickshire.
She served on the boards of many local charitable organizations including the Royal Agricultural Society, the Stoneleigh Abbey Trust and the Stratford Society. She was also a supporter of local craftsmen, artists and the theatre. In 1998 she was the first woman to hold the office of High Sheriff of Warwickshire.
Miss Creak also put together an exceptional collection of 19th Century views of Venice, the majority of which were painted by Edward William Cooke, RA (British, 1811-1880). Cooke was a highly regarded Maritime painter, and made many painting trips to Venice, where he produced some of his most important works. Among the highlights are ‘Trabaccoli carrying wood, San Giorgio Maggiore and the Dogana beyond’ estimated at £70,000-90,000, and ‘Evening on the lagoon from Isola San Servolo’, estimated at £60,000-80,000. The collection of 14 lots, with a combined estimate of £350,000-500,000, will be offered in Bonhams sale of 19th Century European, Victorian & British Impressionist Art, to be held in New Bond Street on 25th June.