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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Two gentlemen celebrating a birthday (Frank Watters and Geoffrey Legge)

1974
Bob Jenyns

painted wood, denim, wool, plastic, 10 candles (69.0 cm x 108.0 cm depth 51.0 cm)
Image not available

Geoffrey Legge (b. 1935) and Frank Watters (1934–2020) 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 dealing under Barry Stern, then one of the leading gallery owners amongst the very few in Sydney. Legge, an Englishman, was born in Uganda and educated at Charterhouse before coming to Australia, where he 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. Writing in November 2018 as Legge’s and Watters’s gallery’s closure was imminent, John McDonald declared ‘Watters may not be “fashionable” any longer, but the list of major artists that have shown at the gallery is unmatched by any of their peers.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Frank Watters OAM 2018
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Bob Jenyns (age 30 in 1974)

Frank Watters OAM (age 40 in 1974)

Geoffrey Legge (age 39 in 1974)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Frank Watters OAM (1 portrait)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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