Bertram James Glover was born on May 10, 1903 in Dundee, Scotland. His father, William John Glover, was born July 1, 1874 in Jersey City, New Jersey of Irish ancestry. His mother, Mary Glover, was born August 12, 1871 in Gosport, England. His parents married in Dundee, Scotland, on July 14, 1898. They had three children, all of whom were born in Scotland, where his father was employed as a bricklayer. His older brother Edward was born in 1899. His older sister Mabel Anne was born in 1900.
In 1916 his father returned to America with the eldest son, Edward, who was eighteen years old. They settled in Buffalo, New York, where his father worked as a bricklayer for the Lackawanna Steel Company. His brother Edward worked as a draftsman for the same company. They lived at 11 Ashton Place in Buffalo, near West Seneca, which is in an area known as "The Southtowns."
In 1917 his father and older brother moved to 28 Allegany Street, and then one year later they moved to 68 Ashton Street in the same area.
On July 9, 1918 his mother brought the two younger children to live in America. They sailed from Liverpool to New York City. At that time he was fifteen years old. His passport described him as having gray eyes, light brown hair and "the complexion of a fish."
His mother worked as a clerk at a local fruit store, while he and his sister attended local public schools, where most of their classmates had a father that worked at the massive Lackawanna steel plant.
In 1921 he graduated South Park High School. He had a natural talent for drawing and contributed illustrations to the year book of his graduating class.
Also in 1921 the American modern art master Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) moved to Buffalo to work as a designer at the H. M. Birge Wallpaper Manufacturing Company. He remained in "The Southtowns" area for the rest of his life, where he painted landscapes of local scenes in a mystical expressionist style, for which he was eventually renowned. The artist's studio, home and surrounding acres are now preserved as the Birchfield Nature & Art Center.
From the 1920s to the 1960s Bertram Glover and Charles Burchfield remained neighbors and they both painted landscapes of the same local scenes, so it is reasonable to assume they were well acquainted. In fact Glover's earliest works from the 1920s seem to reflect the influential example of the older artist.
Although there is much to learn from studio visits and outdoor sketching trips with an admired artist, nothing can replace the basic foundation of professional academic art training, such as Burchfield had received from Henry Keller (1869-1949) at the Cleveland Institute of Art before moving to "The Southtowns" area of Buffalo.
So in 1925, at the age of twenty-two, Glover followed the example of Burchfield and enrolled in art school. He moved to New York City to study at the Art Students League. He lived in a lodging house at 175 West 78th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
In 1927, while still an art student, he began to paint covers for pulp magazines. Over the next six years his work appeared on Thrills, The Underworld Magazine, Complete Underworld Novelettes, and Aces. He also painted the cover for the first issue of The Phantom Detective. His cover paintings for pulp magazines are signed with only his initials "B.G." This may indicate a preference to maintain a low profile and preserve his artistic reputation, while he earned his income from the typically low-paying pulps.
By 1930 he had completed his studies and returned to "The Southtowns" to live with his parents at 34 Fifth Street. He worked as a salesman for a paper manufacturer. His unmarried older sister still lived at home and worked as a stenographer and book keeper for a wholesale electrical product company. The older brother Edward had married and moved to the Bronx, where he worked as an accountant for the Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, while his brother's wife Margaret was a public school teacher.
In 1931 one of his paintings was included in the Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design in NYC. His fellow exhibitors included American modern art masters Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Milton Avery (1885-1965), and Max Weber (1881-1961).
In 1932 his paintings were again included in a group exhibition with these same artists at the Juried Annual show of the College Art Association.
In 1937 his painting was included in an Annual exhibition of local artists at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo. His work continued to appear in this annual show for several years and received several prizes.
In 1938 he married his wife, Ellen Glover, who was born 1915 in New York. She was a college graduate.
In 1940 he and his wife lived at 1428 Union Road in West Seneca, which is four blocks from the home of Charles Burchfield. Along with his landscape paintings Bertram Glover continued to work as a commercial artist.
In 1940 he opened the Glover, Hermes & Adams Studio with two partners, Robert C. Hermes and Charles F. Adams, who were commercial artists. Their office was in a three-story red-brick factory building at 588 Monroe Street in Buffalo.
In 1944 he illustrated The Songs of Robert Louis Stevenson for a Buffalo publisher.
That same year he also contributed illustrations to The Bellringer a wartime periodical of the Bell Aircraft Corporation, which was founded by Larry Bell in Buffalo, NY, when the Consolidated Aircraft moved to San Diego and vacated their plant at 2050 Elmwood Avenue.
In 1947 his illustrations for a series of advertisements for Kendall Oil appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.
He continued to work as an illustrator and a landscape painter for the rest of his life.
In 1960 a retrospective exhibition of his landscape paintings was shown at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY.
Bertram Glover died of a heart attack at the age of sixty at his home in "Ihe Southtowns" area of Buffalo, NY, on March 15, 1964.
© David Saunders 2012