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The James Gleeson oral history collection

James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists | SUBSCRIBE TO iTUNES PODCAST



image: Jacqueline Mitelman 'Portrait of James Gleeson' 1997 gelatin silver photograph 40.0 x 31.0 cm National Library of Australia nla.pic-an14169107 © Jacqueline Mitelman 2008 Jacqueline Mitelman Portrait of James Gleeson 1997 gelatin silver photograph 40.0 x 31.0 cm National Library of Australia nla.pic-an14169107© Jacqueline Mitelman 2008

Select and listen to artist interviews from the list on the left, or you can simply subscribe to the iTunes podcast . Henceforth episodes will be added to iTunes.


In the late 1970s Dr James Gleeson AO, Australia’s leading surrealist painter, interviewed 98 Australian artists in their studios to discuss their works that had been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia. As an artist, curator, writer and administrator, Gleeson brought a unique perspective to these conversations. The recorded interviews form the basis of a significant resource on Australian visual arts.

The recordings are accompanied by 2000 reference photographs of the artworks and transcripts of the interviews. Because of the fragility of the media, the interviews have been migrated to digital files to ensure the preservation of the material and to increase access to it.

The interviews have historic and cultural significance as primary research material in the study of contemporary Australian art. They provide personal insights into how the art works were created and their enduring influence on Australian society. This collection also provides an additional context – the story of the development of the National Gallery’s Australian art collection at an early period in its history.

Memories of the World logo The James Gleeson Oral History Collection in the National Gallery of Australia Research Library has been inscribed into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register 2008 as being of significant Australian cultural heritage.