James Gleeson Oral History Collection

The National Gallery of Australia with works from the collection
projected on the outer walls for its 25th anniversary in 2007


This collection comprises recordings by one of Australia's foremost artists, Dr James Gleeson AO, interviewing 98 Australian artists represented in the National Gallery of Australia (NGA).

This is a significant primary research collection unparalleled in Australian art. As well as his activity as a Surrealist painter, Gleeson, who died on 20 October 2008 at the age of 92, was also a poet, critic, writer and curator, and was a member of the NGA Council at the time of the interviews in the 1970s.

He brought a perspective to his interviews that provided profound and personal insights into the diverse creative processes, stories and meanings behind some of the nation's pre-eminent contemporary artists' works.

Some of the artists included in the oral histories are: Charles Blackman, John Brack, Judy Cassab, Jock Clutterbuck, John Coburn, Tony Coleing, Noel Counihan, Grace Crowley, Lyndon Dadswell, Alexsander Danko, Bob Dickerson, Sir Russell Drysdale, Leslie Dumbrell, Brian Dunlop, Leonard French, Rosalie Gascoigne, Murray Griffin, Elaine Haxton, Dale Hickey, Ian Howard, Vincas Jomantas, Grahame King, Robert Klippel, Alun Leach-Jones, Rosemary Madigan, Rodney Milgate, Alan Oldfield, Lenon Parr, Paul Partos, Stanislaus Rapotec, Lloyd Rees, Ken Reinhard, Ron Robertson-Swann, Bill Rose, William Salmon, Gareth Sanson, Martin Sharp, Eric Smith, Tim Storrier, Guy Stuart, Imants Tillers, Albert Tucker, Tony Tuckson, Guy Warren, Frank Watters and Brett Whiteley.

The interviews are accompanied by transcripts and 2000 reference photographs of the relevant artworks in the National Gallery's collection. Originally recorded on audiocassette, the oral histories have been digitised by the National Library of Australia and local Canberra radio station 92.7 Artsound FM.


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Contact the National Gallery of Australia to find out more about the James Gleeson Oral History Collection