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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.

Geoffrey Legge and Frank Watters

1999
Anne Zahalka

from the series ‘The Innovators – collectors who shaped Sydney’s Avant-Garde, 1963 -1978’
type C photograph on paper, edition 1/1 (image: 61.0 cm x 50.0 cm, frame: 74.0 cm x 64.0 cm)

Geoffrey Legge (b. 1935) and Frank Watters (1934–2020) ran Watters Gallery in Darlinghurst from 1964 to 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 was born in Uganda and educated at Charterhouse before coming to Australia, where he studied economics at the University of Melbourne. In 1963 he rented a house next door to Stern's gallery and began to 'hang around' there; in due course the men decided to open their own gallery in Liverpool Street, Surry Hills. Legge, deferring to Watters's more practised eye for art, insisted that the gallery be named Watters. In 1969 the gallery moved to Riley Street, where it 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. Watters Gallery closed on the 24th November 2018.

Purchased 2021
© Anne Zahalka/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Anne Zahalka (age 42 in 1999)

Geoffrey Legge (age 64 in 1999)

Frank Watters OAM (age 65 in 1999)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987

Hall of mirrors

Magazine article by Naomi Cass, 2007

Naomi Cass, Director of the Centre of Contemporary Photography, in conversation with Anne Zahalka.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

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© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency