Wilfrid Gabriel von Glehn (his family changed their name in 1917) was born in 1870 in Sydenham, London. After studying at Brighton College and for a short time at South Kensington during the greater part of the 1880s, he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris in 1890 where he studied with Edie Delaunnay and Gustave Moreau. As a young artist in 1891 he was introduced to John Singer Sargent and worked with him on the famous Boston Mural commission until its completion in 1895.
In 1904 de Glehn married Jane Emmet, the American portrait painter, and they travelled extensively, often accompanying Sargent on his trips through Europe.
He exhibited in Rome (1894) and in Paris (1895) and had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1896. Solo exhibitions of his work were also held at the Leicester Gallery and in New York (1920).