Nick Waterlow was born in England and educated in Europe before moving to Australia in 1977. He was highly regarded in the art world, taught at Sydney’s NSW College of Fine Arts (Cofa) and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the arts.
He was appointed director of the 1979 Biennale of Sydney, where he included indigenous art for the first time. He went on to be artistic director for the biennale in 1986 and 1998 and was on the festival’s international selection committee in 2000.
Mr Waterlow, who most recently was curator of the Ivan Dougherty Gallery in Sydney, was described as an “instrumental player” in Australian art and a mentor to many up and coming artists.
Joanna Mendelssohn, an art scholar and friend of Mr Waterlow’s, described him as a “magician” when it came to discovering talent among budding artists. She added that he was a devoted family man who adored his grandchildren — he was due to babysit on Monday — and that he had returned recently to Britain to visit his elderly mother.
“He was also just a really decent bloke. He had a nice sense of humour too,” Ms Mendelssohn told The Times.
Marah Braye, chief executive of the Biennale, said: “Nick Waterlow was an esteemed curator of far-reaching reputation, who commanded international respect and the highest regard of his peers.”
Another friend, Professor Ian Howard, the dean of Cofa, a school with which Mr Waterlow held a long association, choked back tears as he said: “It’s beyond belief and beyond reason that a person of such high standing, could meet this tragic end.”
Chloe Waterlow, who co-wrote Celebrity Homecooked in 2006, featuring recipes by Australian stars, was remembered as a devoted mother to her three children.
Antinina Mautone, a neighbour, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph: “She was a wonderful lady and played with her children in the back lane. The kids sounded very happy and they were filled with the love of the parents.”