Auction opens new gallery

Gallery One93 owners Paul and Fiona Bastow with a bunch of Bergens. Photo Rob Maccoll.

By Phil Jarratt

Award-winning German-born artist Eric Bergen spent more than half his life painting landscapes of the Noosa he loved, but since his death in 2013, this vast body of striking work has been unseen, quietly lining the walls of the Sunrise Beach home of his grieving widow, once his studio and gallery.

Since the death of Maria Bergen two years ago, the estate was left to four leading charities, and now, thanks to a collaboration between executors Donald Portman and Co, Tewantin’s newest art gallery, Gallery One93, and sponsor Laguna Real Estate, a large sampling of the work will be offered at a no-reserve charity auction from 5pm tonight, 9 December.

Born in Munich into an artistic family, Eric’s art appreciation and training began at an early age, selling his first paintings at 15, later studying at the College of Applied Art Raabenbauer where he received a masters degree in fine art and became an arts teacher. In 1960 he and Maria migrated to Queensland where he initially taught in Brisbane, but Eric was captivated by the landscapes he found around Noosa’s beaches and river, and they soon moved here permanently.

While Eric turned his artistic talents to everything from still life to copying the old masters, to this eye it is his depiction of our local landscape that stands out in the collection. Perhaps a nod to the late, great Hal Barton here and there in the beach and National Park pieces, but Eric Bergen definitely had a style that was all his own. And it was appreciated in Queensland, where he received the highest award bestowed by the Royal Queensland Art Society and enjoyed the patronage of an A-List of clients, including former premier Peter Beattie, as well as some of our leading local collectors. One of his landscapes even ended up in the personal collection of the late Shah of Iran.

More than 50 Bergens will hang at Gallery One93 from tonight to the close of the exhibition at 5pm on Wednesday 21 December, when the winning bids will be revealed.

Opening a gallery is a new journey for owners and Noosa residents Paul and Fiona Bastow who aim to provide a relaxed, accessible place to view and purchase high quality Australian artworks. Fiona has been involved in the art world (on and off between raising a family) for over 20 years as an artist, arts administrator and teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art amongst other qualifications.

Paul is an investor who says he wants to put some rock ‘n roll into the Noosa artworld! He’s enjoyed curating cool and collectable paintings from artists such as Ben Quilty, Reg Mombassa, Jasper Knight and Adam Cullen, as well as icons of the Australian art world like Sydney Nolan, John Olsen, Mirka Mora and former Noosa resident the late Robert Dickerson.

GalleryOne93 is at 93 Poinciana Avenue, Tewantin, open Wednesday to Saturday 10am-5pm or by appointment. Opening night and Bergen auction from 5pm Friday 9 December. For more information visit