The City of Irving and the Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum and Visitor Center are mourning the loss of world-renowned sculptor Robert Glen, who passed away at the age of 83 after a brief illness in Cork, Republic of Ireland, on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
Glen, a dear friend to the City of Irving, was not only an immensely talented artist but also a passionate advocate for African wildlife conservation. His most notable contribution to Irving's landscape, the Mustangs of Las Colinas, stands as a testament to his artistic brilliance.
"Robert Glen designed and crafted one of the most iconic equestrian sculptures in the world and will forever be a part of Irving’s history, culture, and beauty," expressed Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer. "Robert’s active involvement in the recent refurbishing of the Mustangs of Las Colinas in 2021-2022 demonstrated his commitment to Irving, and he will be missed by everyone who knew him."
Commissioned in 1976 by Ben H. Carpenter, developer of Las Colinas, Glen embarked on an eight-year project that spanned three continents to create the signature piece for the new development in Irving, Texas. Unveiled on September 25, 1984, the Mustangs of Las Colinas features nine bronze mustangs in a dynamic gallop through a creek in Williams Square Plaza, 5221 N. O'Conner Blvd. The sculpture has gained international acclaim and attracts thousands of admirers annually.
Mary Higbie, a longtime Mustangs Museum guide, reflected on Glen’s life, stating, "Recognized around the world as an outstanding wildlife artist, Robert Glen’s talent is superbly reflected in our beautiful Mustangs of Las Colinas. They are such an important part of Irving’s identity, and we are fortunate to be able to see them every day."
A celebration of Robert Glen's life is planned by the museum at a later date, with details to be announced.
Robert Glen's Background
Born in Nairobi, Kenya on May 24, 1940 to Scottish parents, Robert Glen lived in Africa for most of his life. He left school at the age of 14 with two overriding interests: natural history and art. Finding he could combine both in the study of taxidermy, he left Kenya for an apprenticeship in Denver, Colorado, with the Coloman Jonas Studios.
Returning home in 1959, he devoted the next 10 years to becoming a sculptor in the style of European Animaliers while also continuing his taxidermy work. He created scientific collections of birds, small mammals and reptiles for various North American museums, a task which took him across Africa from Cameroon to Madagascar.
In 1970 he decided to take up sculpting full-time, and he never looked back. Concentrating at first on his familiar field of African wildlife, Glen later branched out into the African people and their domestic animals with equal success. Recognition soon followed, and his bronze sculptures are held in the collections of various sportsmen, museums and others throughout the world interested in wildlife and its preservation, including the private collections of the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England and the late Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta.
Glen spent the last several decades living in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park with his partner, the accomplished painter and writer Sue Stolberger. They lived in a simple camp studio that included a tent for living and a trailer that served as his studio.
Sculpting from life to capture the true essence of the animals was his passion, and it is reflected in his work, many of which can be seen at the Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum and Visitor Center at 5221 N. O’Connor, Ste. 110, in Irving, Texas. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (closed Nov. 18, 2023).