A longtime art auctioneer is leaving his post at Bergamot Station after nearly a decade.

Robert Berman, owner of Santa Monica Auctions, will host one last auction at his B-7 Bergamot space this Sunday before downsizing and moving his auction and gallery space elsewhere. Santa Monica Auctions has been around for 35 years, it’s last 8 years occuring at Bergamot.  

The 35th anniversary and final auction at the space will feature works from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, Raymond Pettibon and more. Prices will range from pieces with no reserve to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Berman says he’s downsizing due to slowed business but also so he can relax in his latter years of life. He says the final auction coinciding on a milestone anniversary is bittersweet.

“Ain’t everything in life bittersweet,” Berman said jokingly. “I’m just going to try to change my life a little bit and it’s difficult to do what I do for as long as I have. This is my 35th year in Santa Monica. I’ve had a gallery space somewhere for 40 years.Getting a little bit tired. Excited to be working less.”

At 70, Berman can still be found shuffling around, climbing up ladders and carrying famed and framed works of art.

Berman’s art world journey began in Chicago where he was born and raised. He attended Chicago’s Art Institute for his undergrad and briefly visited LA in the 60s. He spent time in Northern California but was impressed by a short visit Los Angeles and Santa Monica, saying “there was something special about those places.”

He then traveled for ten years throughout Europe, selling art in Paris where he was a private art dealer. He worked a small gallery where he was exposed to and helped expose others to the works of Chicano artists and Basquait. He soon visited a friend in California and fell in love with Santa Monica.

“I came to visit my friend that’s an art dealer. I was in the rain and cold of France and [in Santa Monica] it was sunny and everyone was smiling. I never thought I’d stay here but the lifestyle was fabulous. I enjoy riding motorcycles and driving sports cars and I want to do that and own a gallery. It was the perfect place. It’s been a fun adventure.”

Santa Monica Auction’s last auction at the B-7 gallery will take place Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.smauctions.com/




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