About Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn
Profile photo: Wilfrid and Jane de Glehn, depicted by John Singer Sargent at the Villa Torlonia, Frascati.
Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn (also sometimes spelt 'Wilfried'), RA (1870-11 May 1951) was an Impressionist British painter, elected to the Royal Academy in 1932.
Wilfried von Glehn (he changed his name in May 1917) was born in Sydenham in south-east London. 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).
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.
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 and vacationed in Paris and Venice and made a permanent home in London. 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 Gallery and in New York (1920). For the next decade the two 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.
de Glehn is also considered one of the most distinguished artists to have lived in Wiltshire. He died in 1951, at the age of 80, at his home, The Manor House in Stratford Tony, to which he had moved in 1942. His home was the subject of several paintings, as was his previous residence, the Old Rectory in Wilton.
His father was Alexander de Glehn of Sydenham, London. Louise Creighton a British activist and author and Alfred de Glehn a French steam locomotive designer were sister and brother of Alexander.