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Frank Watters gift

Frank Watters at his Darlinghurst home, 2018

Frank Watters, co-director of Watters Gallery in Sydney, has made an exceptionally generous gift to the Art Gallery of NSW of over 30 artworks from his personal collection.

Frank lived with these works for many years in an apartment filled floor to ceiling with art. They reflect the strength, humour and humanity as well as the anarchic flair of the art that shaped the history of Watters Gallery.

Ken Whisson Classical composition with hawk and falcon 2013, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program © Ken Whisson

Frank Watters established the gallery, along with co-directors Geoffrey and Alexandra Legge, in 1964 and it has since become a Sydney institution.

Renowned as a hub for experimental practices, Watters Gallery has nurtured the careers of an impressive rollcall of artists and has left an indelible and significant mark on Sydney’s cultural and artistic life. In November, it will close after 54 years.

Tony Tuckson Four uprights, red and black c1965, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program © The estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency

Frank Watters’ private collection grew from his rapport with, and admiration for, the artists his gallery exhibited and supported. From Tony Tuckson to Richard Larter, Pat Larter, Vicki Varvaressos, Ken Whisson and Chris O’Doherty, the works gifted embody the bold and wild creativity that has characterised Watters Gallery exhibitions and include some of the most significant pieces by its artists.

A selection from this gift is currently on display in the Art Gallery of NSW’s 20th- and 21st-century Australian galleries, and the works by Tuckson will included in the exhibition Tuckson: the abstract sublime.

Pat Larter Pat’s anger 1992, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program © Estate of Pat Larter

Previous post: Mapping connections

November 06 2018, 10am
by Denise Mimmocchi
Senior curator, Australian art