Every now and then one comes across a good de Glehn

… if you know where to look…

de Glehn - WilfridBritish Impressionist painter Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn, was born in the south-east London, city of Sydenham, in 1870. After schooling at Brighton College with his brother Louis, he studied art at the South Kensington School of Art and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

He was then hired by Edwin Austin Abbey and John Singer Sargent to assist them on their Boston Public Library mural project at Morgan Hall (c.1890–1893).

Following this, De Glehn exhibited his own work in Rome (1894) and then in Paris (1895) where he was also elected an Associetaire of the Société des Artistes Français. In the following year he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896.

De Glehn met American-born artist Jane Erin Emmet (1873–1961) in New Rochelle, New York in 1903.  They married the following year and honeymooned in Cornwall, later deciding to make London their permanent home.

In January 1915, during the onset of WW1, the de Glehn’s joined the staff of a British hospital for French soldiers, Hôpital Temporaire d’Arc-en-Barrois, at Haute-Marne, in France. The following year, Wilfrid was commissioned and served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was seconded to the Italian front in 1917. Because of his fluent French, he spent the latter part of the war as an interpreter.

  • In 1920, after WW1 ended, de Glehn held solo exhibitions at the Leicester Gallery in New York.
  • For the next decade both he and Jane would spend summers in Cornwall and winters in France.

Wilfrid is often described as being of a late British Renoir-artist for his deft use of sunlight and shadow. He was finally elected into the Royal Academy in 1932.

Wilfrid de Glehn died on 11th May, 1951, at home, at the age of 80.

  • The image above is entitled: “Soldiers convalescing at Granada”  watercolour (1920).
  • You can also visit my related post on Jane Emmet de Glehn.

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