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A Venetian Doorway, (1913)
A Venetian Doorway, (1913)

Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn (sometimes 'Wilfried') RA (1870 – 11 May 1951) was an Impressionist British painter, elected to the Royal Academy in 1932.

Biography

De Glehn's father was Alexander de Glenn of Sydenham, London, himself the son of Robert von Glehn, a Baltic baron with estates near Talinn in Estonia, who had become a naturalised British subject following his marriage to a Scottish woman.[1] Wilfrid's mother was French.[2] Louise Creighton, a women's rights activist and author, and Alfred de Glehn, a French steam locomotive designer, were Alexander's sister and brother.

Wilfried von Glehn (he changed his name in May 1917[3]) was born in Sydenham, south-east London. After schooling at Brighton College with his brother Louis, he studied art briefly at the Royal Academy Schools in South Kensington before going on to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where for a time he lived with his French cousin, the artist Lucien Monod (1867-1957).[4] In 1891 was hired by Edwin Austin Abbey and John Singer Sargent to assist them on their Boston Public Library mural project at Morgan Hall.

De Glehn would exhibit his own work first in Rome in 1894 and then in Paris in 1895; he was also elected an Associetaire of the Société des Artistes Français. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896.

Wilfrid and Jane de Glehn, depicted by John Singer Sargent at the Villa Torlonia, Frascati (1907)
Wilfrid and Jane de Glehn, depicted by John Singer Sargent at the Villa Torlonia, Frascati (1907)

De Glehn met American-born artist Jane Erin Emmet (1873–1961) in New Rochelle, New York in 1903, and they were married there the following year. Following their wedding, the couple honeymooned in Cornwall, England, vacationed in Paris and Venice, and made a permanent home in Chelsea, London.[2] However, they travelled extensively, often accompanying Sargent on his trips through Europe. When World War I intervened, husband and wife joined the staff of a British hospital for French soldiers, Hôpital Temporaire d'Arc-en-Barrois, Haute-Marne, France in January 1915. The following year, de Glehn was commissioned and served with the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was seconded to the front in Italy in 1917. In May 1917 his family shed the Germanic 'von Glehn' surname. Because of his fluent French, he spent the last part of the war as an interpreter. After the war, de Glehn held solo exhibitions at the Leicester Galleries and in New York (1920). For the next decade the couple would spend summers in Cornwall and winters in France.

Although some experts rank de Glehn alongside Sargent, he is considered as something of a late British Renoir, for his deft use of sunlight and shadow.

He died in 1951, at the age of 80, at his home, The Manor House in Stratford Tony, Wiltshire, to which he had moved in 1942 after the Chelsea house had been destroyed in the Blitz.[2] His home was the subject of several paintings, as was the Old Rectory in Wilton, which he had previously rented.[2]

An oil painting of Venice, painted as a wedding present, was featured in BBC's Antiques Roadshow in December 2014 and was valued by expert Dendy Easton at £20–30,000.[5]

References

  1. ^ Jane Hamilton, In Search of a Golden Age: Wilfrid and Jane de Glehn (The Studio Publication CCXXXIX, Marlow: 2008), p. 12.
  2. ^ a b c d "Wilfrid Gabriel De Glehn, R.A. (1870-1951), Boats in a harbour, St Tropez". Christie's. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  3. ^ London Gazette Issue 30138 published on the 19 June 1917. Page 48 of 68
  4. ^ Hamilton (2008), pp. 12-14.
  5. ^ "BBC One - Antiques Roadshow, Series 37, Durham Cathedral 1". BBC. Retrieved 23 February 2020.