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About Larry Gluck
About Larry Gluck

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Things could hardly have been worse - that is, until a fateful telegram arrived informing him that he had been drafted. Those familiar with history know the Korean War was a particularly bloody affair. Some 37,000 Americans died, while there were 4,000,000 civilian and military casualties on both sides. This was the picture twenty-year-old Larry Gluck was about to step into.

As luck would have it, after arriving in Korea, an inquisitive Captain discovered that Larry possessed two rare skills: he could paint and play piano. Only days away from being sent to the front, his marching orders were revised.
 

Indian Town Gap Military Reservation, PA. Basic Training Center.
Private Larry Gluck, Infantry Rifleman.
Larry was put in charge of the 8069th Replacement Depot's paint shop and oversaw the production of signs for the Army. But his duties extended further: every night a black Lincoln would roll up to the barracks and collect Private Gluck. This wasn't any old Lincoln. This was the U.S. Ambassador's personal chauffeur-driven limo, replete with little fluttering flags on the hood. Its destination: the Pusan Club, the most exclusive nightspot on the Korean Peninsula. And so he spent his nights, entertaining the military's top brass.
 
 
Returning home, the next several years proved restless. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Adelphi College, there was a brief stint as an Assistant Art Director for the largest fashion advertising agency in New York, followed by work as a freelance advertising designer on Madison Avenue. It was during this time that Larry met the woman who would become the love of his life, a young and striking Sheila Baws.

 


 

8069th Replacement Depot, Pusan, South Korea, Circa 1952. Photograph by Andrew Kerezsi.
 
 
They were soon married, and in 1961 on a well-deserved vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Larry and Sheila fell for the Caribbean paradise of Saint Thomas. It was a welcome change from the hectic city. As Sheila put it, "We became discontented with the prospect of a split-level home on Long Island, which seemed to be our impending future." Permanently reshaping that future, they settled on Saint Thomas and planned to buy the Black Patch, a popular nightspot on the island. But when the owners decided not to sell, Larry and Sheila were left to fend for themselves.
Adelphi College, Garden City, Long Island, 1955.
Just after returning from Korea. Long Beach, New York, Summer 1953.
 
 
Larry at work on Saint Thomas, 1962.
Perhaps it was a godsend, because out of necessity, Larry picked up a brush and set his easel in the sand. His subject: the islands themselves, and in terms of medium, Larry explained, "it was only watercolor with its intrinsic beauty of transparency and pure color that could capture the radiance and excitement of St. Thomas."
Governor's Mansion, Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, 1964.

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