John Ollman

Russell and Robert meet legendary American gallerist John Ollman on the 50th anniversary of his career in the art world. As Co-Founder and Director of Fleisher/Ollman gallery, John has paved the way for collectors and museums to support Self-Taught artists. For more than 5 decades, his Philadelphia gallery features work by contemporary artists working both inside and outside of the mainstream.

We discuss the lasting influence of Joseph Duveen and Leo Castelli on many gallerists, the psychology of Collecting, the art of Topiary, beginning to work with Janet Fleisher gallery in the early 1970s on a memorable Oceanic Art exhibition. We discuss his championing Self-Taught artists works. We discuss the terminologies created for self-taught artists such as Outsider, Outlier, Visionary and Folk Art. We discuss numerous artists including Sister Gertrude Morgan’s paintings, meeting Lee Godie whilst she was painting outside a Neimann Marcus store, working with Bill Traylor’s work since 1981, James Castle, William Edmondson, the Chicago Imagists, Pauline Simon, the curator Lynne Cook's exhibitions, Martn Ramírez (considered as a 'self-taught master'), Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, the game-changing exhibition ‘Magicians de la Terre’ which ran across the entire city of Paris in 1989, including Hilma af Klint introducing mainstream audiences to spiritualism within painting. Finally, we explore contemporary artists such as Marlon Mullen and how he discovered the work of the Philadelphia Wire Man in 1985 and the adventures introducing the world to this undiscovered artist's extraordinary sculptures. We also explore the importance of books as a way to discovering artists and artworks plus how collecting art and museum collections have evolved over the past 50 years.

Visit @FleisherOllman on Instagram as well as the exhibitions from earlier this year @JTT_NYC and @AdamsAndOllman

View the 'Dear John' show archive page at Adams and Ollman in Portland:

View the 'Dear John' show archive page at JTT gallery in New York:

View the 'Back Stories' show archive page at Fleisher Ollman gallery in Philadelphia:

For images of all artworks discussed in this episode visit @TalkArt. Talk Art theme music by Jack Northover @JackNorthoverMusic courtesy of We've just joined Twitter too @TalkArt. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. For all requests, please email


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