Australian footballer and TV identity auctions some of his collection

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 15th October, 2021

Most Australians are familiar with former Australian Rules Football champion Geelong ruckman Sam Newman – if only for his antics over 24 years on Channel 9’s The Footy Show.

Newman played 300 games for Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League from 1964 to 1980 before he retired, was named in the 1969 All-Australian team and represented Victoria eight times in interstate matches.  

His media career began in 1981, his longest stint being with The Footy Show from 1994 to 2018.

What is less well-known is his love of art, manifested publicly when in the early part of this century he organised a nine-metre by eight-metre glass patterned façade mural of Baywatch siren Pamela Anderson on the front of his architecturally designed St Kilda home.

Nicknamed the “Pamela House”, it caused a huge stir and was noted at the time by former National Gallery of Victoria director Dr Gerard Vaughan and several other leading artist identities.

On a more serious note, Newman also has an extensive art collection, some of which he is auctioning from 12pm Sunday October 24 as part of Gibson’s Auctions Australian & International sale at 885-889 High Street, Armadale, as he downsizes from a larger property.

While the auction will be conducted live in an empty room, due to ongoing Victorian COVID-19 restrictions bidding can only be carried out online, over the phone or through absentee bids. Likewise, viewing also is online with condition reports, photos and virtual viewings available on request.

Indigenous art is of particular importance to Newman who places great emphasis on the history and narratives within the works.

An excellent example is Tommy Watson’s Kapi Piti (lot 26) with layers of vibrant colours used to symbolically represent his parents and grandparents country.

A fan of Jeffrey Smart (at one stage he owned four of his works), Newman also collects Graham Roche – whose style is similar – and Bass Strait (lot 28) is typical, while Peter Moller’s My Boyfriend…The Only Man I Ever Truly Loved! Well, He’s Left Me In this Picture For Another! is an eye-catching acrylic on canvas (lot 24).

Heide, the iconic and influential Melbourne home of modern art mentors and philanthropists John and Sunday Reed, is once more under the auction microscope with a series of compelling archival materials and artworks that intertwine with its history.

One of these is the late Mirka Mora (1929-2018), whose rebellious spirit and liberal attitudes to life and love from the moment she arrived aged 22 in Melbourne made her a beacon for other bohemian types – including many of those associated with Heide.

Bird Dreaming 1967 (lot 32) is a great rendition of her talents while her soft sculpture dolls such as lot 33 Mermaid epitomised her nostalgia for childhood.

Other auction highlights include selected works from the late Dr George and Mrs Anne Geroe’s collection, including Hungarian artist Miklos Farkashazy’s (1895-1964) Figures in the Street (lot 45), Criss Canning’s Fresias on a Japanese Tray 1997 (lot 1), Sidney Nolan’s (1917-1992) Kelly and Gun 1965 (lot 50) and Elioth Gruner’s (1882-1939) Summer Droving (lot 56).

Additional notable works include Clifton Pugh’s (1924-1990) Aftermath of Fire 1965 (lot 63) and Chinese artist Kordelya Zhan Sui Chi’s Portrait of iconic Aboriginal painter Rover Thomas 1997-98 (lot 116).

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