Kym Bonython's art collection opened for public purchase

Date: Feb 06, 2012

One of Australia's leading art collections is to be sold off through a combination of auctions and online purchases as the deceased owner's estate is divided amongst his children.

Adelaide resident and social advocate Hugh Reskymer Bonython - better known as "Kym" Bonython - died on March 19 2011 at the age of 90.

Born the youngest of six children, Bonython was a prominent and active member of the community, developing a wide range of interests and engaging in a number of careers over his working years.

These included time spent as a radio announcer, pilot with the RAAF, speedway motorbike rider, racing car driver, racetrack promoter, hydroplane racer, author, concert promoter, art dealer and jazz musician - in addition to official positions as a company director and board member.

In his time as a radio presenter - the show lasted for 38 years - the active Adelaide man also joined a jazz band and opened up a record store on King William Street in the 50s and has been widely credited with playing a key role in having The Beatles include South Australia on their tour.

On top of these activities, Bonython was also attracted to the arts - spending time with influential painters such as Brett Whitely, Pro Hart, Sidney Nolan and William Dobell.

In pursuit of his passion, Bonython opened a number of galleries in both Adelaide and Sydney, which saw the procurement of a number of key pieces.

On top of this, the prolific collector was able to amass a substantial number of premier pieces for his personal gallery at Mount Lofty - many of which were lost during the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.

However, the surviving pieces have been the subject of a recent public viewing at the Bonython Meadmore Gallery - a purpose-built house in North Adelaide.

Over 1,800 people made their way through the residence in groups of no more than 30 - with the aim of perusing some of the nation's most interesting collections, many with the aim of purchasing an item or two.

The house itself is also up for sale - however, the contents are to be distributed according to the wishes laid out by Bonython's estate planning documents.

These include nearly 400 artworks present in the house - while half of the paintings, masks, sculptures and ornaments to be sold at auction on February 7 through a local gallery, the remainder are to be made available for sale to the public through a dedicated website.