Accounting For Taste: The Lowensteins Art Management Collection

Sasha Grishin

Author Sasha Grishin has used a musical analogy to categorise the more than 250 lavishly reproduced artworks by 135 artists of Australia's post-war years that are included in this book. Recalling the movements of a symphony, he divides the artworks into four 'movements': 'Humanist Moderns', 'Formalist Moderns', those for whom the landscape is relevant and, lastly, a variety of painters and sculptors more difficult to fit into a cohesive group. The 'Prelude' which introduces the book tells the story of accountant Tom Lowenstein who, with his partners, experimented in art collecting in the 1970s before – together with his son Evan and a colleague Adam Micmacher – establishing the present Lowensteins Arts Management Collection which currently hangs in Melbourne and Sydney. Befriending artists like John Olsen, Charles Blackman and Arthur Boyd, he was privvy to sound advice while he developed his own aesthetic judgement. The collection is rich in works by Olsen, Blackman and Boyd, and then by a splendid array of artists including Danila Vassilieff, George Baldessin, Colin Lanceley, Garry Shead, Peter Booth, Yvonne Audette, John Walker, Alun Leach-Jones, Sally Smart, David Rankin, Imants Tillers, Allan Mitelman, and Robert Jacks. Prominent sculptors include Akio Makigawa, Ron Robertson-Swann and Robert Klippel. Then there are exciting younger artists like Ricky Swallow, Matthew Johnson, Angela Brennan and Jasper Knight. Indigenous artists Freddie Timms, Rosella Namok, Richard Bell, Danie Mellor and Lin Onus are also well represented.