Glenn Anthony Wessels, painter, muralist, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Cape Town, South Africa on December 15, 1895, the son of a wealthy Dutch diamond merchant. The Wessels family came to California about 1902, having lost everything in the Boer War. Glenn earned his B.F.A. degree at the California School of Arts and Crafts and M.A. degree at UC Berkeley. He began his art career as an illustrator for the San Francisco Call. He furthered his art training at AcadeÂmie Colarossi in Paris, and with Karl Hofer in Berlin and Hans Hofmann in Munich. While in Munich, he became Hofmann's assistant and in 1930 returned to the U.S. as his interpreter and guide.
Wessels long teaching career began at the California School of Arts and Crafts but he also taught at Mills College in Oakland, Washington State College, and the University of California Berkeley. He painted five murals for the Federal Art Project and later became technical adviser and superviser in the Oakland area. In the early 1930s Wessels was the art critic for the San Francisco Fortnightly, and between 1934 and 1940, he was art editor for the San Francisco Argonaut. Wessels retired from teaching in 1963 and was invited by Governor Edmund (Pat) Brown to become a California State Commissioner of Fine Arts. He was a member of the San Francisco Art Institute and served on the board of trustees, the San Francisco Art Association, Friends of Photography and served on the board of trustees, and the Oakland Museum where he also served on the board of trustees.
Wessels final years were spent in Placerville, California where he died on July 23, 1982.