Sam Glankoff Biography

Sam Glankoff



SAM GLANKOFF (Samuel Glanckopf/Samuel Glanckoff) was born on October 30, 1894, in New York City. Glankoff was a primarily self-taught artist, studying and copying his favorite works in miniature, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Taking any job he could that required artistic skill, Glankoff spent his teenage years working and studying on his own, rather than attending school. His mother, a Russian émigré who loved music and art herself, encouraged his creativity, despite her husband's disdain for it.

In 1915, at the age of 20, Glankoff signed up for classes at the Art Students League, and in 1917, when the U.S. entered the first World War, Glankoff left for Cuba as a conscientious objector. This period in his life was the only one in which he sold his own art, riding around the country on horseback, as a means of buying food and shelter. He and a friend were later wrongly accused of blowing up the East Coast Railroad and Wireless Station, and Glankoff incarcerated until the Second Armistice was signed. Some say that this might be what set the tone for his later works, and after that experience, Glankoff never left the U.S. borders- rarely leaving the state of New York itself.

Throughout his artistic career, both professionally and personally, Glankoff made little effort to have his work brought to the public eye. Though his experience and talent was extensive, spanning fine and graphic art, comic book illustration, stuffed animal design, he would always struggle financially. However, he managed to continue to create, almost non-stop, throughout his life. It wasn't until he was 87 that Glankoff had his first one-man show, just months before a died. Sam Glankoff 1894-1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, his first museum show of over 130 paintings, woodcuts, commercial illustrations and multi-paneled ³Print-Paintings², was held in 1984 at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University.