Lesley Kehoe Galleries sells art, but what we are really about is engagement with fantasy and romance. Our guiding philosophy is to create an environment of beauty, one that indulges the senses, provokes the intellect, and stirs the heart. We see art as universal and beauty as its most essential component. Our commitment is to art as an intimate partner in our everyday lives. We work to overcome inbuilt prejudices of what art is and who may access it, and which culture monopolizes it.

We are dedicated to the Japanese aesthetic, one that sits close to the soul of man and embodies the Universal, transcending both form and material. Our collection expresses the infinite scope of beauty and does not acknowledge externally imposed boundaries of culture, period, medium, or academic definitions. When we speak of the Japanese aesthetic, we do not restrict ourselves culturally or geographically. We address universal principles that are best expressed by Japanese culture.

In the art and artists we represent, we seek mastery of material and technique, originality and an articulated artistic identity and concept. We look for works that evoke passion and awe, that contribute something beyond the everyday. We admire both a growth from and reinterpretation of tradition, and the revolutionary spirit that seeks to create anew.

Established in 1983, Lesley Kehoe Galleries quickly built an excellent reputation for high quality artworks and consummate client service. The initial focus on historical works of art is a continuing area of strength, with world standard museum quality works in our portfolio. Contemporary works have been added to our range and is an expanding area of the business. Lesley Kehoe Galleries has an international reputation for the best in Japanese art, participating in specialist art events in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London and Dubai. Long-standing personal relationships in Japan are the key to the quality of works we are able to exhibit.

Close to 30 years experience has culminated in a newly opened architect-designed gallery space in one of Melbourne’s most prestigious locations in the CBD. Our brief was to create a space of beauty which encapsulated the best of Japanese design reinterpreted to co-exist with a contemporary Western environment. The entrance corridor is symbolic of a physical and spiritual journey across a boundary; from the everyday ‘noise’ of the corporate city to the meditative dimensions of interaction with art. The interior of the gallery is partially obscured by a dusky tint on the automatic door to reinforce the separation of the mundane and the extra-ordinary.

In the future the gallery will begin to incorporate works by international and Australian artists who show an appreciation of, and who are influenced by, the Japanese aesthetic, again in its broadest interpretation. This will include new media such as photography, video art, paintings, illustrations, calligraphy and textile art. The company will look to pop-art, anime, street art and young artists who are pushing boundaries and experimenting with new techniques and media.

“When you get to the top of the mountain keep climbing”
Zen saying


 Lesley J Kehoe  BA (HONS)., MA., FRAS

Lesley J. Kehoe is recognized as one of the leading specialist Japanese Art dealers in the world. She is the most important dealer in the Southern Hemisphere and is responsible for creating a significant level of awareness of Japanese Art in Australia. Her work has contributed substantially to Australia-Japan relations and her past sponsorship of Australian netsuke carvers has seen their works acquired by the Imperial Palace in Japan. Her work with contemporary lacquer master Unryuan Kitamura Tatsuo has seen his work in the V&A London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and in Australia’s major national institutions.

Fully fluent in Japanese language and culture, Lesley has provided consultant services at senior level for major Australian and Japanese corporations and projects, and has held academic positions at major Melbourne tertiary institutions. With an unequalled reputation for scholarship in Japanese Art she is a regular

lecturer and writer contributing internationally. This includes features in Australian and Asian print media, guest appearances on broadcast media in Asia and Australia, and lectures for private clubs, professional associations and national galleries in Australia, Britain and the USA.

Since 1986 Lesley Kehoe Galleries has participated by invitation in major exhibitions in Japan, Los Angeles, Sydney, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Chicago, London and New York. Lesley is an accredited Valuer for the Federal Government Arts Incentive Scheme. She has co-curated an exhibition of contemporary lacquer work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and was the Foundation Curator of the Pauline Gandel Collection of Japanese Lacquer.

Asked to comment on her significant career, she will attribute it all to serendipity; to significant mentors in Japan; to a strong work ethic inherited from her parents; to wise advice from her German host father; a commitment to excellence; to courage and resilience and belief in a dream.

As owner and director of Lesley Kehoe Galleries, her work today, based on international reputation, concentrates on providing acquisition and curatorial services to major private collectors; to finding opportunities for young artists from both cultures; to increasing the awareness of international art in Australia, and in continuing her educational role of promoting a deeper understanding of Japanese art and culture within Australia.

Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life


Lesley Kehoe Galleries is about sharing the enjoyment of beauty: To embark on a journey that is initiated by an emotional response to a work of art; to enter into the world of a fascinating culture that has contributed so much for so long to the international world of art, design, literature, film, fashion and food.

This journey might start in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth or nineteenth century world of traditional Japanese art, a world of painting, screens, emotive ceramics, sumptuous gold lacquer boxes and intricate workmanship in ivory and bronze; a world full of coded metaphors, the study of which will reward with remarkable insights, intellectual stimulation and increased cultural awareness.

Alternatively, it might start in the twentieth or twenty first century with internationally acclaimed contemporary works in a variety of media; or with the discovery of a young emerging artist working in a global environment with traditional materials and techniques in creative experimentation; or with the simple sensual pleasure of a sake cup in hand.

However, or wherever, the journey starts, we can assure you of visual and intellectual pleasure, professional guidance, worthy and enjoyable company, worldwide peers and an horizon-broadening lifetime of discovery.

Lesley Kehoe