ABOUT GLENN WHITEHEAD
I was born in 1940, in Houston, Texas. Grew up there, attended public schools. Shortly after graduating from high school I was living in New York City. I worked as a delivery boy, and I was ridiculously poor. Except I never thought of it that way. The way I saw it, I was rich. I attended classes at various art schools-The Brooklyn Museum, The Art Student's League, The New School, and sat in classes at NYU and Columbia-and I spent a lot of time in the city's great museums. It was only later that I realized I had learned so much from looking, just looking. Renoir said "you don't learn about art from nature, you learn about art in museums."
Later I received the usual degrees, a BFA at the University of Texas, a master's degree at Stanford University. I didn't like teaching and Wanda helped rescue me from it. We often painted together outdoors and in the studio, she was a most generous and agreeable model, and even her pets figured into my work. I photographed her constantly. I was obsessed with Wanda and it was a magnificent obsession. She remains the light of my life.
VITA (Stuffed with Gratitude)
1955-1958 Bellaire High School, Houston. Two teachers there, Shirley Wily and Norma Henderson, were the first intelligent adults who took interest in me. Were it not for them I don't know if I would have proceeded in life as an artist. (in 1958 I had a lot of fun as editor of the yearbook.)
1958-1960 I attended classes at U.T. Austin, excelling at those which interested me and failing all others because I refused to show up. I am especially grateful to Barry Schackman, who taught me so much about drawing the human figure. Schackman went on to teach at Washington University, St. Louis, where he made long time impact on at least two generations of young draughtsmen and painters. I owe him. And I owe Al Buscaglia, the best of all my teachers.
1961-1965 Moved to New York, that richly wonderful city. I took evening and weekend classes at the New School and N.Y.U. and got a Max Beckman scholarship at the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum. I am indebted to Joseph Floch and Moses Soyer for their encouragement and generosity, which included financial assistance with my art supplies. Even though I was almost laughably poor, the years in New York had an enormous effect on my life. I was never unhappy there.
1965-1970 Back in Austin I joined the staff of the Texas Ranger, U.T.'s student humor magazine. I drew cartoons, especially cartoons of armadillos. I had the pleasure of working with Dave Hickey several times. More than anyone else, Bill Helmer (later a senior editor at Playboy Magazine) was, always, lovingly supportive, I owe you, Bill.
1970-1972 Went back to school at Stanford (MFA, 1972). Nathan Olivera, Keith Boyle, and Frank Lobdell were kind and helpful, and Stanford was generous with scholarships and studio space.
1972-1976 With proper credentials in hand I took a teaching position at Wichita State University, Wichita Kansas. There I met a group of exceptional people, including the painter John Fincher and two perceptive and intelligent art historians, Jim Moore and Mira Merriman. Mira and her husband were early collectors of my work. I miss them. Jim Moore went on to direct the Albuquerque Museum and he is one of my closet friends. I also came to know the incredibly multi-talented Dan Rouser, active to this day in the very good Wichita Art Museum. But I hated teaching and moved back to Texas.