Michael Snape – Feature on Archibald Portrait of Stuart Purves

In News July 3, 2021

Image above: Artist Michael Snape and Stuart Purves alongside Michael’s Archibald Finalist painting of Stuart Purves.

“Stuart Purves has been my good friend and art dealer since 2004. 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 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.” – Michael Snape, 2021

Image above: Michael Snape  Stuart Purves  2014-21  oil on canvas  180.5 x 120 cm

Michael Snape’s portrait of Stuart Purves took several years in the making. In that time it is has gone from being used for Halloween to flapping in the skies of Sydney on the 2021 Archibald Prize city flags.

Stuart has reflected on how “my regular visits to Michael’s studio are all the more special now, with his quiet observations of me resulting in a successful portrait hanging in the Art Gallery of NSW for the 100th Archibald Prize”.

Click here to view the work at the Art Gallery of NSW

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2021

5 June – 26 September 2021

Art Gallery of NSW