We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Michael Snape Stuart Purves

oil on canvas

180.5 x 120 cm

‘Stuart Purves has been my good friend and art dealer since 2004,’ says Sydney artist Michael Snape.

‘I paint portraits of people with whom I have spent a lot of time. Their sitting is made from my observations of them over time. They sit for me unwittingly.

‘I used to work quite quickly, spontaneously, but this portrait has taken seven years to complete. Stuart has grown younger over that time.

‘Stuart was born to be an art dealer – actually and metaphorically. He is national director of the Australian Galleries, founded by his family in 1956 in Melbourne. Stuart launched the Australian Galleries’ Sydney branch 33 years ago. Stuart lives and breathes art. He is committed to art and his artists, as a dealer needs to be.

‘The portrait captures various aspects of his personality – his enthusiasm, his persuasive skills, his scale, his appetite for tidiness, his critical wariness, and his impatience with indulgence. It also shows his friendliness and warmth. Does it reveal his soul as a portrait should? That remains to be determined.’

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