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Paintings produced for McDonald’s in Hampstead compared to priceless Mark Rothkos in Tate Modern

Adam Woodall (left) and his brother Kirk with two of the McDonald's artworks, pictured at a framing workshop. Adam Woodall (left) and his brother Kirk with two of the McDonald's artworks, pictured at a framing workshop.

Monday, September 1, 2014
7:00 AM

For two decades they adorned the walls of Hampstead’s most notorious fast food joint, serving as little more than a pleasant backdrop to the consumption of burgers and fries.

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But for one young art lover, a collection of paintings commissioned to make McDonald’s “more Hampstead” are as desirable as the priceless Mark Rothkos hanging in the Tate Modern.

Art enthusiast and business student Adam Woodall is now hoping to reunite the collection – after buying five of the six works for £2,700.

The 20-year-old, who studies business at the University of Bath, raised the cash by draining his savings and persuading his tennis coach brother Kirk, 27, to share the cost.

Now he is appealing to the Ham&High’s readers to help him track down the missing piece – so he can make an offer.

“It’s hard to describe why I like them so much,” he said.

“It might sound ridiculous, but if someone turned round to us and offered £50,000 or £60,000 for these paintings, I would not want to sell them.

“My brother and I are not millionaires by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s no piece of art I could buy for that price that I would rather have.”

The six canvases by Kate Lovegrove, depicting well-known local landmarks such as Kenwood House and The Spaniards Inn, were put up for sale when McDonald’s closed its Hampstead High Street branch last November after 20 years.

They were commissioned in 1993 to make the fast food restaurant’s appearance more palatable to the community, following the high profile and ultimately doomed 12-year “Burger Off!” campaign to stop it opening.

Mr Woodall instantly fell in love with the paintings when he first visited the area last year, while he was staying in Tufnell Park during a six-month work placement.

He says he was immediately struck by them in a profound way that had only happened before with the works of Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.

“They’re greats in terms of modern art, and these are just a set of paintings from a McDonald’s,” he said.

“But for me, they had the same effect.

“I would be overjoyed if I could complete the set.

“It’s the same as if one of the Rothkos was taken out of the Tate Modern – it feels wrong that they’re not all together.

“It’s not a situation where money isn’t an issue, but we would be prepared to offer a sum that allowed the owner to make a profit.”

Anyone who can help Mr Woodall should contact the Ham&High on 020 7433 0100.

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