Eva Breuer among Australia's great dealers - collection goes to auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 20th March, 2015

Eva Breuer’s private collection of 76 paintings is among Menzies highlights for its auction from 6.30pm Thursday March 26 at Menzies Gallery 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington in Sydney.

One of Sydney’s leading art dealers until her death from cancer in 2010, the sale of her collection follows the closure of the Eva Breuer gallery, which her daughter Nicky McWilliam continued to run after her mother died, in May 2014.

Most art followers saw Eva Breuer as a luminary of the Australian art world who was respected for her enthusiasm, energy and high standard of practice.

Many of Australian art’s biggest names – including Sidney Nolan, Garry Shead and James Gleeson – benefitted from Breuer’s energies.

The Menzies art auction features Brett Whiteley’s The Paddock – Late Afternoon 1979, carrying a catalogue estimate of $1.8 million to $2.4 million.

It will be the most valuable Whiteley painting to come onto the market since Menzies sold My Armchair in 2013 for $3,927,720.

The artist occupies a unique place in the Australian art market and no other Australian painter can match the enduring fascination collectors appear to have with him.

One of Australia’s best loved painters of the past 20 years Jeffrey Smart is represented with his major work Pylon I, painted in 2006 seven years before his death at age 92.

A classic homage to modern urban landscape, according to Menzies art head for the southern region Tim Abdallah, no other painter was able to match Smart’s special ability to make a jewel from an everyday scene.

From 1964-1968, Fred Williams engineered a new artistic vision of the Australian landscape and produced paintings for which he became internationally renowned.

He is now regarded as arguably the country’s greatest landscape painter and one of the most important artists of his era.

The paintings done during this period, including the auction work Hillside II, were radical – yet widely admired and the subject of heated interest from museums and private collectors until Williams death in 1982.

Flamboyant bushranger Ned Kelly held a lifetime fascination for Sidney Nolan. The best examples of paintings on this subject were produced during his ground-breaking first series in 1946.

All these are now in public galleries – so collector interest has turned to the second and third series, with the best ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.

The auction painting Ned Kelly and Mounted Trooper 1964 is a fine display of Nolan’s skills with the subject matter that made him famous.

In recent years, Lin Onus has emerged as a major talent for collectors of both modern and Aboriginal art.

A self-taught painter with Aboriginal and Scottish ancestry, Onus was on the threshold of national success when he died in 1996, aged 47.

Since then, he has become an established artist in the $200,000-plus category and the auction painting Late Afternoon at Barmah 1995 is one of his best paintings.


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