In 1898, Grigory Gluckmann was born in the Russian town of Vitebsk. At 19, he left home to attend the Art Academy in Moscow, leaving there for Berlin 3 years later in 1920, to escape the Russian Revolution. There he changed his name from Glickman to Gluckmann.
In 1924, he traveled from Berlin to paint in Italy for 9 months, & in October of that year, he had his 1st one-man exhibition at the Galerie Druet in Paris. In the following years, he showed in the Salon des Tuileries, the Galerie Drouant, the Salon d’Automne, the Salon National des Beaux Arts, & the Galerie Charpentier. During this period, he also exhibited in London & New York. His 1st American exhibition was held in 1937, followed by regular exhibitions on both the East & West coasts, as well as in Chicago.
In Paris, he painted models, dancers, & backstage theatrical views. He prefered to paint his female subjects from the back or nude, avoiding faces for the most part. He became friends with violinist Jascha Heifetz, who evolved into a major collector of Gluckmann’s work. Gluckmann seemed to prefer the company of musicians & intellectuals rather than other artists.
The classical painting techniques, which Gluckmann learned in Moscow, served him well throughout his career. He painted mostly on wood panels, using a layering method to apply his paint. This method was time-consuming, because it requires each application to dry before proceeding. The results were rich colors with depth & softness that complemented his subjects.
In June 1941, he escaped German-occupied Paris, sailing to the United States. He took a studio in New York, where he had several one-man exhibitions during the war. He moved to Los Angeles in 1945, where he began exhibiting his paintings at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries. Gluckmann painted in Paris again, briefly, in 1954, exhibiting at the galerie Drouant-David; but he maintained his primary residence in Los Angeles & became an American citizen.