Josef Chromy is one of Launceston’s wealthiest citizens.
He is the owner of the Josef Chromy winery and has overseen the development of other leading wineries including Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires), Jansz, Heemskerk and Tamar Ridge.
He also transformed the Penny Royal into the successful multi-faceted venue it is today, and is the man behind numerous other businesses and property developments throughout Tasmania.
But there’s one thing he’s wanted for more than 20 years.
The art lover has multiple distinguished works hanging in his home gallery, including three James Turner bush scenes, eight European paintings, and contemporary Tasmanian paintings from Tom Samek, Shelley Macleod and Graham Cox.
But he has never been able to acquire a John Glover painting.
On Wednesday he got double that, with the purchase of two oil landscapes at auction for $162,000.
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Mr Chromy said the purchase of the paintings was a dream come true.
“It’s a little more than what I expected to pay, but I don’t mind because I love them,” he said.
“For more than 20 years I have dreamed of owning a painting from John Glover. I’m lucky that I was able to buy one now.
“I have a lot of paintings but not a Glover. As soon as I read [about the auction] in the newspaper, I thought, I have to try and buy them.”
The price is higher than Armitage Auctions estimate, with the auctionhouse expecting the two works to bring in between $120,000 and $140,000.
The paintings, Provenance and In the Val d’Aosta Switzerland, were easily the most valuable items at Armitage Auction’s sale on Wednesday.
But auctionner Andrew Snooks said there were plenty of other collectibles coveted by those who attended the auction, which was their biggest for the year.
“We’re extremely happy,” he said.
“It’s been a very successful auction for us.”
Other items sold included a Michael McWilliams painting for $37,500, a George Peddle chair for $2600, and a Haughton Forrest artwork for $7000.
The auctionhouse holds an auction every fortnight, and Mr Snooks said their next offering should also be significant, due to all the items that couldn’t fit into Wednesday’s schedule.
Josef Chromy emigrated to Australia with nothing after fleeing war-torn Czechoslovakia, now the Czech republic, in 1950, at the age of 19.
Now 88, he has a personal art gallery in his penthouse, where he said the John Glover paintings will be hanging pride of place.
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