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Portrait of Frank Watters



Vicki Varvaressos


07 Sep 1949 –

  • Details

    Other Title
    Frank Watters
    Media category
    Materials used
    synthetic polymer paint on canvas
    151.5 x 212.8 cm; frame 154.5 x 216.0 x 5.7 cm
    Gift of Geoff Ainsworth and Johanna Featherstone in loving memory of Frank Watters 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Vicki Varvaressos

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Vicki Varvaressos

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Predominantly a figurative and abstract painter, Sydney-born Vicki Varvaressos attended the East Sydney Technical College (now National Art School) from 1970-73. She was hard-up when she decided to enter one of her first portraits into the Archibald Prize in 1980, hopeful she might win the $3500 prize money. The subject is Frank Watters (1934–2020), a passionate and influential art dealer and co-director of Watters Gallery, which was a stalwart of the Sydney art scene from 1964. Holding her first solo show at the gallery in 1975, Varvaressos remained part of its stable of artists until it closed in 2018. When Watters died, he was widely remembered for his loyalty to artists, his ethics and his advocacy for experimental art practice.

    Varvaressos wrote: ‘I painted Frank in his apartment. He had just had his chair upholstered and I included a few of his many colourful objects. His walls (until recently) were always painted pink. When I was reminded of this painting decades later, I was surprised at the bright colours as I often am when seeing my early work. I was also struck by the slightly melancholic air about Frank. Although I had not been aware of it at the time, I later came to think that it captured something about him.’

    That year was the second time no award was given (the first in 1964), with the trustees deciding to withhold the prize.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Archie 100, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jun 2021–26 Sep 2021

      Archie 100, Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong, 06 Nov 2021–20 Feb 2022

      Archie 100, Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns, 18 Mar 2022–12 Jun 2022

      Archie 100, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 09 Jul 2022–03 Oct 2022

      Archie 100, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Launceston, 22 Oct 2022–08 Jan 2023

      Archie 100, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, 26 Jan 2023–26 Mar 2023

Other works by Vicki Varvaressos

See all 9 works