The Fine Art Society was pleased to present a major exhibition of the British painter, Gluck (1895-1978). Featuring 32 works including Gluck’s most important painting, Medallion (1937), the exhibition explored the fascinating life, work and legacy of one of the most pioneering artists of her generation.
Born into the wealthy family of Joseph Gluckstein - co-founder of the catering empire J. Lyons and Co. - Hannah Gluckstein was one of the most mercurial and rebellious artists of her day. By the age of 23, she had begun to call herself Gluck (“no prefix, suffix, or quotes”), had adopted men’s clothing, cropped her hair, and begun to smoke a pipe.
The show featured one of Gluck's best-known paintings, Medallion (1937), a dual portrait of Gluck and Gluck's lover, the American socialite, Nesta Obermer, inspired by a night at the opera in 1936. According to Gluck's biographer, Diana Souhami, "They sat in the third row and she felt the intensity of the music fused them into one person and matched their love." Referred to by Gluck as the "YouWe" picture, Medallion was later used as the cover of a Virago Press edition of The Well of Loneliness.
The Fine Art Society and Gluck have a long history together since her first exhibition at the gallery in 1926. After a twenty-year hiatus from painting, in 1973, Gluck marched into the Fine Art Society and demanded another solo show. Realised later that year, Gluck’s exhibition of 52 works was well-received by critics, curators and collectors, and firmly re-established her reputation as one of the major figures of her period. This was to be her last exhibition before her death in 1978.