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Thomas ‘Tam’ Purves (1909–69), founded the Australian Galleries in Collingwood, Melbourne with his wife Anne in 1956. Purves began his career as a manufacturer’s agent, and spent 18 years running a successful dress-pattern manufacturing business with his wife. He managed the business aspects of the Australian Galleries, while Anne dealt with the art. As a team, they pioneered professional dealing in Australian contemporary art, promoting the careers of artists including Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Albert Tucker, Jeffrey Smart and Brett Whiteley. John Brack began exhibiting with them in 1957. The following year he painted their portraits – as well as one of his friend, Fred Williams.

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