The James Gleeson oral history collection
James Gleeson interviews Australia's major artists
Man in a red jacket c.1960
painting, oil on canvas
60.5 (h) x 50.4 (w) cm
reproduced with permission of the artist's estate
21 September 1978 [unknown location]
James Gleeson: Well now, Boy and a red jacket.
Justin O'Brien: Now, that boy, he went to Cranbrook. His name was Donald McClisky. Donald McClisky is now working up the road from where I’m staying with Merv. Yes, he is, and he’s sandpapering pillars and working very hard.
James Gleeson: Go on.
Justin O'Brien: Yes, he is.
James Gleeson: He was a student? He studied art with you?
Justin O'Brien: Yes, he was a student of mine and he married a woman called—oh God, what’s her name? I can’t remember it. Anyway, he’s married.
James Gleeson: Is that dated? Do we have a date for that?
Justin O'Brien: No, I don’t think so.
James Gleeson: Also known as the Red jacket, 1963.
Justin O'Brien: Yes, it would be about 1963. He came and posed for me at my flat in Elizabeth Bay Road. Well, he’s a well-developed young man now. He’s not a child any more.
James Gleeson: You used gold there.
Justin O'Brien: I didn’t use any gold.
James Gleeson: Isn’t that gold in the jacket?
Justin O'Brien: No.
James Gleeson: Well, what comes out like gold?
Justin O'Brien: It’s probably Indian yellow, I suppose.
James Gleeson: Is it?
Justin O'Brien: There’s no gold leaf in that. No.
James Gleeson: The gold leaf didn’t come till later then?
Justin O'Brien: No, I used gold leaf long before that. But there’s no gold leaf in that. No.
James Gleeson: Well, isn’t that surprising because it does—
Justin O'Brien: Do you think it looks like gold leaf?
James Gleeson: You look at the highlights on that red jacket.
Justin O'Brien: No, Jim, there’s no gold leaf on that.
James Gleeson: Isn’t there?
Justin O'Brien: No, not at all.
James Gleeson: It’s a long time, I must say, since I’ve seen the actual thing.
Justin O'Brien: Wait a minute. That’s travelling round the country now in that funny collection.
James Gleeson: That’s right, yes.
Justin O'Brien: What do you call it? Patrick McCaughey.
James Gleeson: The Heroic Years.
Justin O'Brien: Patrick McCaughey gave it several write-ups.
James Gleeson: The Heroic Years, that’s right. It is some time since I’ve seen it.
Justin O'Brien: He looks so professional. Look at him.
James Gleeson: I know.
Justin O'Brien: Terrible things on his ears. Are you going up to Mars?