Australian architect with enviable auction art collection

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 20th October, 2017

Responsible for designing Australia’s Parkroyal Hotels, the late Theodore (Ted) Berman built an enviable reputation as one of the country’s leading commercial architects.

In addition to his efforts with the well-known hotel chain, his legacy can be seen throughout Melbourne in venues such as the Box Hill Central bowling club and the five-bedroom mansion he designed and built in 1964 at 1 Heymount Close, Toorak.

 Here with the help of his wife Miriam, for more than 50 years Ted amassed an impressive collection of art, antiques and collectables.

Many of the art works were purchased directly from what amounts to a roll call of leading Australian artists – William Dobell, John Perceval, Charles Blackman, Clifton Pugh, Donald Friend, Sam Fullbrook, David Boyd, Greg Irvine, Dorothy Braund, Donald Friend – long before they became fashionable and enduring household names.

Other than becoming part of occasional exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria, the paintings never left the walls of their Toorak home.

However, all that changed in April this year when Ted died and, with Miriam moving into an apartment, the mansion was auctioned for more than $17 million.

As a result, Christian McCann Auctions has been asked to dispose of the art, antiques and collectables – with the auction being held on site from noon Sunday October 29.

Sale highlights include a rare William Dobell portrait of Helena Rubenstein – one of six studies he completed of the famous Polish, Australian, American cosmetics entrepreneur who became one of the world’s richest women – and his Study For The Telephonist.

Among other important art works is a Charles Blackman schoolgirl painting, Sam Fullbrook’s Sowing Seed and original Donald Friend and Greg Irvine paintings.

Porcelain plays an important auction role with four George Owen Royal Worcester vases the leading highlight along with a superb collection of quality Japanese Satsuma.

There also are several collectable 19th century bronzes, fine antique French and Chinese furniture and works of art, 19th century French and English clocks, and garden items – all of which must be sold.

Of great interest to classic car buffs will be the two 1949 Buicks in immaculate condition – both bought and imported from the United States. 

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