By Patty Tedesco
Sunday, June 8 marks the 30th anniversary of the Santa Monica Auctions. Founded in 1984, the auction house has been independently owned and operated for the past 30 years.
Owner Robert Berman is an active member of LA’s art scene. A seasoned auctioneer, Berman is also an established gallery owner. He opened his first gallery in 1979 – the Robert Berman Gallery.
Located on Main Street in Santa Monica, he was soon approached by many young artists as well as up and coming pop street artists.
In 1984, he created Santa Monica Auctions.
The focus of Santa Monica Auctions is primarily contemporary art in Los Angeles. It features works by mid-career and established artists of all mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, multiples and prints.
“Early on I sold a lot of work by Pettibon, David Hockney, Ed Rusha, Jon Baldasari – all artists who have grown in popularity and collectability,” insists Berman.
He recommends that people come in to the gallery to view the works at Santa Monica Auctions (A-5), which has relocated to another part of Bergamot Station. This will be the first outdoor auction since the MTA forced the auction house to re-locate.
Each auction brings new works by renowned artists. He continues, “It’s all about quality and the low starting prices of the art that drives the auction and keeps it fresh and alive after all these years.”
Sandy Brown, Westwood resident and art lover, has frequented the Santa Monica Auctions events for several years.
The collector views the online catalogue first to see if she is interested. She then visits the gallery to see the work in person.
“It’s a convenient way to buy art and a wonderful way to build an art collection,” she explains. “I’ve been to other auctions that just show a photo of the work. With this auction, they bring out the original piece. When the hammer goes down, that is the price. With other auctions, that’s not always the case. Sometimes they mumble and you don’t always know. With Santa Monica Auctions you know. I feel comfortable with this auction. It’s in my price range and has all levels of art.”
The list of renowned artists whose work is set to be auctioned is impressive.
The list includes: Banksy, Marc Chagall, John Baldessari, Barry McGee, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, DeWain Valentine, Roger Herman, Ed Moses, Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, David Lynch, Larry Bell, Sam Francis etc.
The 30-year anniversary auction will be held on Sunday, June 8 at Santa Monica Auctions, from noon to 5 pm in front of the A5 Gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center (2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica).
There will be both online and live phone bidding as well as refreshments.
Attendees are encouraged to visit the gallery, ask questions, and see the works in person prior to the auction. The gallery will be open Friday and Saturday from 11 am-8 pm. There will also be a preview event today (June 6) from 5-8 pm. The continually updated online catalogue may be viewed at www.smauctions.com.