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They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but the stories art collector Warwick Brown could tell about each of the paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures in his 500-plus piece family collection would run to far more.
There's the time in 1978 when Brown bought a Tony Fomison painting thus saving the artist from eviction; the Philip Trusttum abstract he got as a present for wife, Kitty, and didn't realise was actually two figures until it was on the wall; the Colin McCahons the couple picked up at the artist's first shows.
A keen painter himself, he and Kitty started collecting art in the mid-1960s and, he says, never paid more than about $300 - $400 for work by the likes of McCahon, Bill Hammond, Dick Frizzell, Pat Hanly, Nigel Brown, Sarah Hughes, Sir Tosswill Woollaston, Mary McIntyre, Ian Scott and Richard Killeen (among many others).
Now the collection is expected to fetch $3 million to $4 million when it goes to auction at Mossgreen-Webb's in May. But before the auction, Brown has put a selection of work on display at Northart Gallery in the Northcote Shopping Centre.
A long-time supporter of the art space, he has given talks, curated shows, lent work, judged art awards and held his own exhibitions there. Family Reunion: Selected works from the Warwick and Kitty Brown Collection includes 32 paintings from early acquisitions to more recent purchases.