2 June 2003

Deal Me In: Stuart Purves

Australian Art Collector caught up with Australian Galleries' Stuart Purves in Rome, where the dealer was passing through en route to Tuscany where he planned to take possession of the latest raft of works from his octogenarian stable star, Jeffrey Smart.

STUART PURVES: I’ve come to Italy to honour Jeffrey [Smart], who’s in his early eighties now, and why not, we’ve been dealing with eachother for over a quarter of a century. I am a second generation dealer and I had two parents [Anne and Tam Purves] who were full-time art dealers. Believe it or not I’m the oldest continuing art dealer in the business. I can’t believe it coz I’m still young and that shows you how young the art world is in this country. But what it all comes down to that it is art before money. It really isn’t a business, instead you’re more like a leaf floating down the river, steering a course. There’s no real competition in the art world because everybody is in a sense heading in the same direction - to find that kernel of proper and inspiring art. There’s too much chasing of the money in it today. The money’s there, it’s always been there for good things–