Eva Breuer – A Personal Reflection

Eva BreuerThursday, 11 February 2010

Dear Diary,

It is with great sadness that I have learnt of passing away at the age of 66 of Eva Breuer, a prominent Sydney art dealer and very close industry colleague. She was one of those rare breeds of art dealers who had successfully combined operating in both the primary and secondary market. She created her own aesthetic niche, and whatever she showed was  of outstanding quality. Her gallery became an important powerbase for Australian figurative painting and home for a number of significant mid-career and established artists, including Brian Dunlop, who also sadly also passed away not so long ago.

Whenever I dropped by her gallery in Moncur Street in Woollahra on my rare trips to Sydney, she had always found time greet and acknowledge me, no matter how many other people were in her gallery at the time, no matter how many phone calls she was juggling simultaneously. And the same can be said for anyone else who came into her space. There was never any hint, any sign that she was unwell in any way; hence the news of her death was that much more of a shock to me.

Eva’s work ethics always amazed and inspired me. I will never forget how on my first visit to her gallery I was greeted by the sight of her two assistants dialling the phones for her and passing the phone receivers to her only when the client was finally on the line. Whenever she rang the Charles Nodrum Gallery (which I managed at the time), it was an assistant who made an introduction before putting Eva on the phone. It seemed like she did not have a second to waste.

A Melbourne-based artist, represented by Eva Breuer, said the same thing to me. Whenever the caller ID on her mobile phone indicated a phone call from Eva, it was always an assistant who said the first hello, passing the phone to Eva once the connection was established. The conversation may have lasted only a few moments: “Hi, it’s Eva, are you painting more pictures for me?” Sometimes it takes very little to let the artist know that the dealer is taking care of her.

I was always inspired yet puzzled by Eva’s indefatigable energy. It seemed to me that she had been burning her candle at both ends. Now, upon reflection, I realise that this may have been because she was tragically aware that her life had an expiration date.

Her passing away is a sad and perhaps irreparable loss to the Australian art world. Eva, wherever you are, I am sure you have already started creating a kick-arse art collection up there in the sky!

PS: I have just gone through my backlog of photographs I have taken at auctions, exhibition openings, and art fairs, hoping to find that elusive shot of Eva to illustrate this entry. Sadly (and bizarrely), her face is missing from my ‘gallery’ of the art world’s notables. Hence I am using this stock photo found on the net instead…

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

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Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

February 2010


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