Hampstead art dealer sells own Warhol for The Royal Free’s Covid 19 Fund

Barmaid at The Crooked Billet by Bill Brandt courtesy of James Hyman Gallery

Barmaid at The Crooked Billet by Bill Brandt courtesy of James Hyman Gallery - Credit: Archant

James and Claire Hyman who is a surgeon at the Royal Free Trust are selling 40 artworks by Henry Moore and Marc Quinn and giving all proceeds to the NHS

A print by Marc Quinn courtesy of James Hyman

A print by Marc Quinn courtesy of James Hyman - Credit: Archant

Many businesses are giving a percentage of profits to the NHS - but one Hampstead Garden Suburb art dealer is selling works from his own collection and giving all the money to the Trust where his wife works.

James and Claire Hyman’s first eight photographs - including an Andy Warhol print - sold in three days, and a cheque for thousands of pounds was handed over to the Royal Free charity’s Covid 19 Fund.

Sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi, etchings by Henry Moore and drawings by Walter Sickert, alongside photographic prints by Aaron Siskind and Marc Quinn are also up for sale by the James Hyman Gallery at “reduced prices”.

Claire is an oral surgeon at Chase Farm and Barnet Hospital which is part of the Royal Free Trust.

Claire and James Hyman picture by Yan Morvan

Claire and James Hyman picture by Yan Morvan - Credit: Archant

“Part of it was thinking how does one do something in this time of crisis that’s supportive?” says James, who is using his international art world contacts to sell a further 30 works with prices ranging from £550 - £22,000.

“I have a wife in the health service and I have been putting on exhibitions and selling pictures.

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“Some people are almost being ‘business as usual’ but that felt inappropriate at this time. It felt so disconnected from what is going on. I felt helpless, so the sale is bringing these two aspects together to do something positive.”

The plan was hatched while James and Claire were “under quarantine” at home after one of their daughters was believed to have the virus - fortunately mildly.

“My wife is off work because there is inadequate testing so we don’t know whether or not she has the virus,” he adds.

“But hopefully she will be back next week operating on urgent cancer cases.”

James ran a Mayfair gallery for more than 20 years, but two years ago moved his business to Hampstead Garden Suburb, working with museums, private clients and through art fairs.

His passion for British photography and British 20th Century figurative artists has driven the business and he and Claire have made their private collection of 3,000 photographic artworks available to view online at britishphotography.org.

They have also philanthropoically donated works to bodies such as the Yale Center for British Art.

“I know the last thing on people’s minds is looking at art, let alone buying it but we are doing what we can,” said James who is keen that their donation to the Royal Free’s charity is not spent on “personal protective equipment and ventilators”.

“That’s the government’s job,” he says firmly.

“It should support the staff in whatever way it can.”

Go to Jameshymangallery.com to view the work on sale.