Wilfrid Gabriel De Glehn, RA, NEAC, (1870 – 1951)

Wilfrid Gabriel De Glehn, RA, NEAC, (1870 – 1951),

The Doges Palace, Venice, 1904

Oil on canvas, 12.5 x 16 inches

Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn was one of England’s leading Impressionists, recognised for his direct, painterly style, vibrant colour and ability to capture sparkling, sensual light effects.

In 1891, he began a lifelong friendship with John Singer Sargent, when Edwin Austin Abbey chose him to come to Fairford in Gloucester and assist him with Sargent’s mural commission for the Boston Public Library. It was possibly through Sargent that Wilfrid de Glehn met Jane Emmet, who came from a distinguished New York family and was related to Henry James. They married in 1904 and soon joined Sargent in Venice on what would be probably the first of many painting holidays they enjoyed together and with other artists before WWI.

In the 1904 trip to Venice, Sargeant and the de Glehns painted together, primarily in watercolours.  However, Wilfrid capture the Doges palace beautifully in the rate oil and Sargent infiltrated his upper-class friend Jane de Glehn, in the garb of a proletarian local woman, into his “Venetian Wineshop,” a sympathetic rendering of the relaxed informality of a typical lower-class hostelry, almost a low-life pendant to the high-life drawing-room scene of “An Interior in Venice.” Also in 1904 Sargent famously completed a bravura watercolour of Jane de Glehn, stylishly dressed, elegantly posed and very much the lady, at ease in a gondola gliding along the Grand Canal.

By 1900, de Glehn had already begun to come into his own as a painter. He joined the NEAC, befriended both Tonks and Steer, and exhibited at the Paris Salon, the Royal Academy, the New Gallery and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. His first solo exhibition was held at the Carfax Gallery in 1908. He was elected an ARA in 1923 and made an RA in 1932.


National Portrait Gallery, London
Tate Britain, London
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Royal Academy of Music, London
Royal Horticultural Society, London
Royal Society of Medicine, London
Guildhall Art Gallery, London
Birmingham City Art Gallery
Bristol City Art Gallery
Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Burnley
Clare College, Cambridge

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