Born Wilfrid von Glehn in Sydenham, London, his father was an Estonian coffee importer and his mother was French. He studied briefly at South Kensington School of Art (c1889), and then for six years at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris under Elie DELAUNAY and Gustave MOREAU.
He began to exhibit at the 1895 Paris Salon and at the Galerie Durand-Ruel (New York). In the 1890s he was to make a close friend of the artist John Singer Sargent, whose influence had a lasting effect upon his work, and went to America to assist him with a mural commission for the Boston Public Library.
In 1904 he married Jane EMMETT (aka Jean), an American from a distinguished New York family of artists whom he had met the previous year. They honeymooned in Cornwall, his first visit having been in 1901. From 1905 until 1914 the couple travelled throughout Europe and America before joining the British Red Cross staff in France in 1915.
On their return to England the following year he was commissioned in the Artists Rifles, and seconded to the Front in Italy in 1917. That year the family changed its name from von G to De Glehn. Returning to England in 1919, he held a solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries. In 1921, after spending some time in Cornwall the previous year, a one man show in New York was mounted.
In 1923 he spent the summer in Cornwall before travelling again to France; thereafter he established a 'remote Cornish studio' to which he came with regularly 'with his charming American wife'. Jean also painted but did not display her work publicly ('Round the Studios', The Artist, 1932).
In 1942 the family moved to Wiltshire. He painted, travelled and exhibited widely, and during visits to Cornwall painted around Falmouth, Polperro and Cadgwith.
Painter of landscapes, portraits and figures, designer of stained glass
works and access
Works include: Gwendreath Appleblossom (1904); Blackhead from Cadgwith (c1925); In the Shade, Corfu (1909)
Access to works: Newport; Manchester; Tate
RA 1896 (first showing), 1951, The Edwardians and After 1988
RWE 1992 Artists from Cornwall Exh, Bristol
Messum's Fine Art Summer 2000
RA 1932 (Senior RA 1946)
NEAC 1870-1951, 1900 (Member)
The Artist (Nov 1939, No 57; Personal bibliography Artists of Note)
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945
Chantrey Bequest list, Tate On-line
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p321)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Patrick (2000) Wilfrid de Glehn, RA 1870-1951: An Exhibition of English Landscape Oil Paintings and Watercolours
RA (1988) The Edwardians and After (Exhibition catalogue)
RWE (1992) Artists from Cornwall, 'Artist Profiles: Historical', pp 33-7