Set above his Sydney gallery yet worlds away from a white cube, Tim Olsen's private domain is an Aladdin's cave of art and objects that paints a revealing picture of his lifelong passions - much like his new memoir.
With Dominic Knight
1 January 2021
It's always hard having a famous artist as your father. Tim Olsen knows all about it. He speaks with Dom about his new biography "Son of The Brush", about his life and relationship with his father, the painter John Olsen.
Duration: 24min 33sec
Broadcast: Fri 1 Jan 2021, 10:00pm
Click here to listen
30 December 2020
This haptic book, for it is large and weighs in the hand, carries an immense personal burden. A whole life is laid bare: a history of peripatetic childhood, neglect, alcoholism, abandonment, false starts, humiliations, failed marriages, addiction and neglect in turn, dependency, self-deception, relapse, renunciation. All the ingredients for the modern celebrity confessional._continue reading
24 December 2021
‘Quixotic’ is a go-to and apt term used by author Tim Olsen in ‘Son of the Brush’, a memoir amidst one Australia’s most eminent bohemian families. He muses on the relatable milestones of his life from the politics of the schoolyard, the gamut love runs, sobriety, crafting a career and parenting. The relentless pursuit of an ideal is unique to an individual let alone a clan so the spark in this title is surely the unique accounts of how Tim, John Olsen, Louise Olsen and Valerie Strong have strived for a rich life._continue reading
21 December 2020
The Olsen name has long been regarded as that of Australian art royalty, with revered artist John Olsen arguably the sovereign. ‘Son of the Brush’ is a frank memoir shedding light on the personal and professional life of the artist’s only son, Tim Olsen. A detailed recount of events traversing the art dealer and gallerist’s early childhood to present day, Olsen’s story is part celebration, part confessional; unfurling the art scene (both nationally and internationally, past and present) and owning his identity and place within it, and within his family._continue reading
Extract: A voyage round my father’, to quote the title of John Mortimer’s autobiographical play of 1963, has been a popular form of personal memoir in Britain from Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907) to Michael Parkinson’s just-published Like Father, Like Son. The same form produced some of the best Australian writing in the twentieth century, with two assured classics in the case of Germaine Greer’s Daddy, We Hardly Knew You (1989) and Raimond Gaita’s Romulus, My Father (1998). The tradition has continued into the present century with – to list some of the choicest plums – Richard Freadman’s Shadow of Doubt: My father and myself (2003), Sheila Fitzpatrick’s My Father’s Daughter (2010), Jim Davidson’s A Führer for a Father (2017), and Christopher Raja’s Into the Suburbs: A migrant’s story (2020). Mothers in such sagas are far from absent, and they can emerge, though not always, as the more obviously loveable or loving figures. As signalled by most of those titles, however, mothers loom less large over the unfolding narrative. Fathers may not always know or act best, but, partly because of their often tougher, commanding mien, they become irresistibly the centre of attention.
12 December 2020
Tim Olsen / Occupation Owner Olsen Gallery / Age 58 / Status In a new relationship / Best known for His art gallery_continue reading
12 December 2020
Whether at the beach, the park or lazing in bed, these are the books you’ll want to keep returning to over the break.
Son of the Brush
by Tim Olsen (Allen & Unwin)
Olsen’s memoir about the joys and challenges of growing up in the shadow of his famous artist father, John, is a fascinating read. In addition to all the juicy art world anecdotes, it’s a candid look at his journey from “free range” child to respected art dealer.
Son of the Brush is Tim's memoir, starting with his earliest memories when the family lived in Watsons Bay and ending in 2020 with a bough of COVID-19.
5 December 2020
Tim Olsen gives an insider’s view of the art world and living in the long shadow of his famous father John._continue reading
2 December 2020
Described as a memoir, Son of the Brush does indeed introduce us to some of the key figures of the art world in Australia in the 20th and 21st century, in the context of the life of the author, son of painter John Olsen.
Listen to the interview here
Image: Tim Olsen at the book launch, AGNSW Photo: Wesley Nel_continue reading
Hilary Harper on Life Matters
24 November 2020
John Olsen has been called "Australia's greatest living artist" but what was it like growing up within his orbit?
Art dealer and gallery owner Tim Olsen reflects on his childhood and life in a revealing and poignant memoir, 'Son of the Brush.
Guest: Tim Olsen, author of 'Son of the Brush'
Duration: 13min 8sec
Broadcast: Tue 24 Nov 2020, 9:26am
21 November 2020
Tim Olsen is the son of the high profile artist, 92-year-old John Olsen. As painters of his father's generation considered themselves as "brothers of the brush", Tim Olsen, by extension, calls himself a "son of the brush". This is a personal memoir - lively, chatty and quite readable._continue reading
12 November 2020
John Olsen is the subject of an explosive memoir penned by his son, who accuses the artist of multiple infidelities and building his creative career at the expense of the family he left behind._continue reading
10 November 2020
John Olsen’s Australian landscapes captured the world’s imagination but to his son the artist was akin to a deity – until he wasn’t.
Where there is artistic acclaim there is often collateral damage. History is littered with redundant muses, discarded partners, children left behind. It can take a certain ruthlessness to live for art, in a heightened state of intensity, making it the only thing that matters._continue reading
Is Damien Hirst's Latest Series a Ripoff of an Aboriginal Australian Artist? See the Works Side-by-SideArtnet.com
March 30, 2018
Damien Hirst's new work looks a lot like the paintings of famed Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye._continue reading
Related exhibition: SHARING COUNTRY curated by Adam Knight
12 January 2018
Don’t focus on the closings. Three cheers for new galleries!
Image: OLSEN GRUIN installed with its summer show, Wesley Martin Berg and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (courtesy OLSEN GRIUIN)
Art galleries are kind of like restaurants. It’s a hard business, and although it’s always sad when one closes (especially after many years serving the neighborhood), when a new one opens, it brings new promise. While 2017 saw the closing of venues like Envoy Enterprises, CRG Gallery, and Sandra Gering Inc., it also witnessed the opening of several brand new galleries in New York City. Here are a few of them [extract]_continue reading
Related exhibition: Jens Einhorn Raw Vision
December 1, 2017
Olsen Gruin is a contemporary art gallery in New York featuring established and emerging Australian and international artists.
‘If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...'
As the song goes, if you can make it in New York, especially in the competitive world of art dealing and gallery proprietorship, then you really have made it.
To then take it to the next level and successfully remain there takes precise planning mixed with boundless enthusiasm, talent, charm and commitment. And that's exactly what Aussies Tim Olsen and Emerald Gruin, the savvy proprietors of the Manhattan Art Gallery the ‘OLSEN GRUIN' have in abundance._continue reading
Related exhibition: Leila Jeffreys Ornithurae Volume 1
Two prominent gallerists share their views on contemporary art and their own personal collections.
Tim Olsen is a leading galleriest in Australia, running Olsen Gallery, Olsen Annexe and Limited in Sydney's Woollahra. Born into the arts dynastically, he is the son of the great painter John Olsen. He recently launched Olsen Gruin gallery in New York - taking Australian art international._continue reading
Related exhibition: Stephen Ormandy Ideography
28 September 2017
Opened in New York’s Nolita neighborhood in March 2017, this gallery is a collaboration between Tim Olsen, a former Sydney-based gallerist, Emerald Gruin and her partner, Adrian, who were previously involved with Rox Gallery that shuttered its Lower East Side space in 2014. Their roster of artists includes some of Australia’s biggest contemporary exports, including TV Moore, George Byrne and Leila Jeffreys, along with American artists such as KOAK. Their venue is also a platform for contemporary Aboriginal artists to reach U.S. markets, and they recently held a group show organized by Adam Knight, vice president of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia, featuring 15 artists. The gallery is presenting new works by Sydney-born, L.A.-based photographer George Byrne this fall._continue reading