Located at Grandview Grove, Prahran, it has a completely untouched back area which is very unusual and many intact features. Here is one of the rooms.
Guess what kind of person resided here?
It's not hard to guess - someone who lived and loved art. As beautiful as this house is, perhaps it is most interesting for its owner, Joseph Brown, who died last year
This portrait of Joseph Brown was painted by Sir William Dargie in 1975. Doesn't he look like a wonderful person? I imagine him as slightly gruff but charming, and fascinated by all around him. (Apologies for tiny size of image).
Here are some hight points of his incredible life.
Josef Breun arrived as a Polish emigre with his father and siblings in 1932, aged 14. He left school at 16 and found a job working in a fashion house. This was also the age at which he purchased his first artwork (with his first wage). He established a fashion business making wedding and evening gowns but still loved to paint and scupt.
He served in World War II for his adopted country, and joined the 13th Light Horse Regiment.
He gave away fashion eventually and opened an art gallery in 1967. He rediscovered forgotten artists (such as John Glover, whose colonial works fell out of fashion in the 1950s) and mentored young artists (such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Rick Amor).
He realised early on he could not afford European art and instead over decades amassed an incredible collection of Australian art, spanning centuries.
In May 2004 Brown donated most of his collection of art to the National Gallery of Victoria. This collection of 150 works ranged from Aboriginal to Heidelberg school works worth $30 million was the most generous single gift ever made to an Australian gallery. Included are these works:
(Phillipine Girls by Ian Fairweather, 1935)
(Yall-y-Poora Homestead by Eugene Von Guerard, 1864)
Dr Brown kept 300 paintings from his collection. You can see some of them on the walls of Sarathon. He repeatedly said he was not a rich man, and emphasised the friendships he had forged with so many outstanding artists. He said in 2004 that he would keep painting himself as long as he could hold a paintbrush.
And thank you all for those who left such nice comments about my friend and her tragedy. She is doing okay, and you are all very kind to be thinking of her. xoxo