(Lodz, Pologne, 1912 – Angers, 1991)
Thomas Gleb and his family are inextricably linked to the history of Angers through the encounters and friendships they forged there. Everything began in 1965 when Pierre Cartron who was then head of the tapestry department at the École des Beaux-Arts, asked his students to weave using Gleb’s models for inspiration.
In 1968, the first tapestry workshop in Angers, the ATA (atelier de tapisserie d’Angers) embarked upon a fruitful collaboration with Gleb. In 1987, a large-scale retrospective was devoted to the artist at the Musée Jean Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine. Thomas and Maria Gleb moved to Angers in 1989. In 1990, "La tapisserie patrie de Thomas Gleb" exhibition in the Chemellier Hall in Angers prefigured the donation to the city of Angers of some thirty woven and sculpted pieces by the artist. A room permanently dedicated to Gleb’s work was opened in 1991, the year in which the artist died.
In 1992, the exhibition of Gleb’s donation at the Ronceray Abbey was completed by the ‘Angevin fund’ (tapestries from the École des Beaux-Arts, acquired by the museum and donated by the ATA). Two years later, an exhibition of Gleb’s drawings was exhibited in the Gleb room of the museum and a collection of poems by the artist, ‘Le Livre des naissances’ (a collaboration with Elizabeth Gardaz and Anne Zali) was published.
When Jean Kalman bequeathed his father’s archives to the museum in 1998, a team of researchers were responsible for classifying and studying this body of material, an undertaking that culminated in the 2001 exhibition Gleb, "Nouveaux visages Peintures, Tapisseries, Sculptures" exploring the multiple facets of Gleb’s creative personality: painting, sculpture, architecture, writings, tapestries, etc.
A new donation by Jean Kalman of 101 works, including 59 drawings, 17 paintings, 23 sculptures, a tapestry cartoon and a ceramic piece was made in 2004. Since then, three permanent spaces are reserved for exhibiting Thomas Gleb’s oeuvres at the contemporary tapestry museum. Amongst these main works, one can cite Shabatt, Coq dominateur or Les Tables de la Loi.
More recently in 2012, the exhibition "Sacré blanc! Hommage à Thomas Gleb" at the Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine compared Gleb’s work with the productions of 50 or so contemporary artists on the themes of the colour white and the sacred.