Oswald Von Glehnlle
There are times when artists are only recalled because they left their signature upon the canvas of an excellent work of art, or even just their monogram. Such might be the case with Oswald Von Glehnlle, as his painting entitled Boreas and Orithyia is one of his few works to be recognized. In actuality, this painting is also listed by Christie’s auction house as a production by Oswald von Glehn (b. 1858).
As the mystery surrounding his identity grows larger, it appears that one art website would like to connect Oswald Von Glehnlle to Wilfrid Gabriel von Glehn, stating that Oswald was an older brother born in Germany, rather than London, as Wilfrid was. A more respectable source of information leads us to a biography of Wilfrid's, explaining that he had an uncle named Nikolai who was a sculptor and another uncle named Oswald von Glehn who was a somewhat successful historical painter in London. In Wilfrid von Glehn (Wilfrid de Glehn)'s biography his uncle died in 1903, but sadly nothing else was mentioned.
Not being able to describe Oswald von Glehnlle or von Glehn is a disappointment, but at least his painting is worthy of discussion. It tells an ancient Greek tale about Boreas, the North wind god, and his daring capture of his unsuspecting choice of brides, Oreithyia, the daughter of the King Erekhtheus of Athens. The Greek myth was easily explained: the young princess was playing on the hillside with her friends when Boreas swooped down and stole her. Their children include the goddess of the snow, Khione, and the Boreades, who were purple-winged, like their father.
The painting only shows the moment of the abduction, where Oreithyia was picking flowers, unaware of Boreas sweeping down (wingless) to collect her with a loop of cloth. The blue skies and sea beneath the cliffsides are softly painted in the background; Boreas and Oreithyia are taking the foreground in great detail. This painting was previously exhibited in the Royal Academy in London in 1879.
This particular painting was valued at between USD $78,200.00 and $117,300.00 in June of 2008, by Christie’s auction house in London, and signed with von Glehnlle’s (?) or von Glehn’s (?) monogram in the bottom lower right of the canvas. There may be additional literature concerning the artist or the painting on page 21 of Academy Notes [ed.] by Henry Blackburn written in 1879 for those who are curious to solve this painter's true identity.