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ON DISPLAY

Geoffrey Legge and Frank Watters
, 2008

by Gary Grealy

inkjet print (frame: 125.0 cm x 148.5 cm depth 2.2 cm, image: 75.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Geoffrey Legge (b. 1935) and Frank Watters (b. 1934) ran Watters Gallery in Darlinghurst, central Sydney, from 1964 to the end of 2018. Watters grew up in a working-class milieu in Muswellbrook and left school at 15 to work in the coal mines. Having developed an interest in art he moved south and served his apprenticeship in art dealing with Barry Stern, then one of the leading gallery owners amongst the very few in Sydney. Legge, an Englishman, studied economics at the University of Melbourne. In 1963 he and his wife Alex rented a house next door to Stern’s gallery and began to ‘hang around’ there. In due course Legge and Watters decided to open their own gallery in Liverpool Street, Surry Hills. Geoffrey Legge, deferring to Watters’s more practised eye for art, insisted that the business be named Watters. Alex Legge kept their accounts throughout the life of the Gallery. In 1969 they took premises in Riley Street, which became an intellectual and artistic hub attracting the likes of Patrick White, who bought many works for the benefit of artists and, ultimately, the Art Gallery of New South Wales. As Watters Gallery’s closure approached, veteran art critic John McDonald wrote that none of Legge’s and Watters’s peers could match the list of major artists who showed with them.

Gary Grealy, a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize a record nine times, won the Prize in 2017.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2010
Accession number: 2010.120