LiveAuctioneers | SMA by SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS

In a region the size of metro Los Angeles, with its population of approximately 14 million people, one would expect to find no shortage of established fine-art auction houses catering to its millionaire moguls and movie stars, but that's not actually the case. The two big guns - Christie's and Sotheby's - no longer conduct fine art sales in SoCal, meaning the field has become all the more accessible for houses like Santa Monica Auctions, which, for the past quarter of a century, has occupied its own well-rooted proprietary niche within the local auction landscape.

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LA WEEKLY | Santa Monica Auctions Says Goodbye, as Bergamot Station's C Building Will Be Demolished for Expo Line | June 2012 by SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS

Robert Berman, auctioneer and owner of Santa Monica Auctions, stepped into the spotlight and started Saturday night's auction amidst a a speedy onslaught of bids for a Peter Alexander pastel on paper. Flying through the next works like a tiger chasing his dinner, Berman sold two more Alexanders, two pastels by Carlos Almaraz, and finally whipped the crowd into a frenzy with the arrival of an untitled John Altoon. Starting the bid at $8,000, Berman kept coaxing more money out of the crowd. The pastel-and-ink work climbed to $16,000. "Now this is an auction ... I love it!" exclaimed Berman.

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