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Personal collection of world-renowned former Norfolk art dealer to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 14:24 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 19 May 2017

Judy Hines photographed at Gorleston. Picture: Andy Newman

Judy Hines photographed at Gorleston. Picture: Andy Newman

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More than 300 post-war paintings which represent the remaining works from a remarkable collection amassed by a Norfolk art dealer and gallery owner who enjoyed a national reputation is set to go under the hammer in the county next week.

Laetitia Yhap ‘Tired 1988’, estimate £800-£1,200. Picture: Andy Newman Laetitia Yhap ‘Tired 1988’, estimate £800-£1,200. Picture: Andy Newman

The final part of the personal collection and residual stock from the Judy Hines Collection will be auctioned by Keys Fine Art Auctioneers at their Aylsham salerooms on Friday, May 26.

The collection includes works by Tessa Newcomb, Elena Figurina, John Reay, as well as names such as Leslie Marr, John Kiki and Geoffrey Chatten.

Judy Hines operated for four decades from galleries in Norwich and Holt before retiring in 2007. During that period, she bought most of her collection either direct from artists or in auction rooms, and supplied many London dealers with contemporary art during her long career.

Keys auctioned the first part of her collection last year in a sale which attracted national and international attention, and brisk bidding, with hammer prices on some works topping £10,000.

Elena Figurina ‘Two Figures’, estimate £1,500-£2,500. Picture: Andy Newman Elena Figurina ‘Two Figures’, estimate £1,500-£2,500. Picture: Andy Newman

Highlights of this month’s sales include: Four works by Tessa Newcomb, including a portrait of her mother Mary Newcomb, with a pre-sale estimate of £2,500-£3,500; A large oil on canvas of two figures by Latvian artist Elena Figurina, with a pre-sale estimate of £1,500- £2,000; Four works by 95 year-old British artist Leslie Marr, including a pen, ink and watercolour work ‘Art Class’, with a pre-sale estimate of £400-£500; Three works by John Reay, who was based in Lowestoft until his death in 2001, including ‘Punch and Judy’, a signed screen print with a pre-sale estimate of £200-£300; and an unusual oil on headboard painting by British artist Laetitia Yhap, with a pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,200.

“This sale is the last chance to own a part of what was a truly unique collection, reflecting the success of one of the first women to break into the art dealing world,” said Kevin Lines, general manager and head of fine art at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers. “Throughout her long career, Judy had a great knack of spotting emerging talent and championing that talent through to success. Many of these pictures have been in her private collection since she bought them from the artists, and so have never been seen publicly.

“This is very accessible art, both in terms of the subject matter and style, but also financially, with many of the pictures having pre-sale estimates below £100. We expect that the auction will attract many private buyers as well as collectors and dealers.”

A retired art dealer and gallery owner, Judy Hines was a central part of the East Anglian art world for more than 40 years, who amassed a huge collection through buying direct from artists, and from auction houses, among them Keys Fine Art Auctioneers.

John Reay ‘Punch and Judy’, estimate £200-£300. Picture: Andy Newman John Reay ‘Punch and Judy’, estimate £200-£300. Picture: Andy Newman

Daughter of the eminent Norfolk painter Edward S Hines, she met many leading artists while accompanying her father on sketching outings, including Rowland Fisher, Campbell Mellon and Arthur Davies.

Her involvement in the art world developed further when she married renowned Norwich School of artists expert Dr Miklos Rajnai, whom she met while researching at Norwich Castle. Judy travelled extensively with him throughout Europe and the United States, following John Sell Cotman’s footsteps, and viewing other Norwich School artists’ works, recording and identifying them for her husband’s research for his well-regarded books on the Norwich School.

In 1973 she opened her first gallery in her family home outside Norwich. She learned framing in London, and opened her own workshop. She also opened ‘Gallery 45’ in Norwich, and in 1997 opened her renowned gallery in Holt where she was for ten years.

Buying mainly direct from artists, she visited London every week, selling to a large variety of art dealers – at a time when there were few women operating at that level in the art world.

Tessa Newcomb ‘Her mother Mary Newcomb in the kitchen at Wood Farm’, estimate £2,500-£3,500. Picture: Andy Newman Tessa Newcomb ‘Her mother Mary Newcomb in the kitchen at Wood Farm’, estimate £2,500-£3,500. Picture: Andy Newman

“I think I was initially accepted into the art world as a woman because of the research I had carried out with my husband,” she said. “I was very much a woman in a man’s world, but I had amassed a lot of knowledge, and that gained me respect.”

By buying direct from less ‘commercial’ artists, Judy was also introducing new strands of work into the mainstream. “I always bought what I liked, often going for artists’ early works, before they became more commercial. I think these works probably were a more genuine expression of the artist’s own creativity.

“I some ways I was a bit of a talent spotter for East Anglian artists. Dealers all wanted different styles of work, so I needed to know what would sell. I think it’s fair to say that I was able to give an early boost to the careers of some artists who later on became very successful – people like Gerald Meares and Lance Beeke.

“I started out just at the outset of the ‘kitchen sink’ period of art, and I loved the subject matter, and could see that many of the works were quality, even if the subjects were simple.”

Judy was Chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle, has sat on many arts festival committees, and has appeared on television and radio. She also painted herself, and spent a period teaching at Hethersett Old Hall School, alongside Cavendish Morton, who died last year aged 103.

Since retiring she has settled on the island of Gozo in Malta, where she has continued her interest in the visual arts, mounting several exhibitions, mainly of British artists.

Keys’ Judy Hines Art Collection Sale Part Two takes place at Keys’ salerooms in Aylsham on Friday, May 26, from 10.30am. Viewing is on Wednesday, May 24, from 9am-5pm; Thursday, May 25, from 9am-7.30pm, and on the morning of the sale from 9am. Full details and a downloadable catalogue can be found at www.keysauctions.co.uk

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