Sculptor and printmaker Enrico Glicenstein was born Henoch Glicenstein into a Jewish family in Turek, then in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire (now Poland) in 1870, the son of a tombstone carver. Originally intended for the rabbinate, after working as a sign painter and woodcarver in Łódź, he enrolled at the Royal Bavarian Academy of Art in Munich between 1890 and 1895. After twice winning the Prix de Rome (1894 and 1897), he settled in Rome with his wife, Helen (née Hirszenberg, sister of the painters Samuel and Leon Hirszenberg), had a son (Emmanuel), and took Italian citizenship, changing his first name to Enrico. He also established a reputation in Paris, winning a silver medal in 1900, and, reportedly exhibited his bronze sculpture, Messiah (now Ben Uri Collection), alongside Rodin's work, at the latter's suggestion, in the central Rotunda of the Grand Palais in Paris. Later the same year, again upon Rodin's recommendation, Glicenstein was elected an honorary member of the Société des Beaux-Arts. Between 1906 and 1914 he exhibited regularly in Germany, and briefly headed the Warsaw School of Fine Arts sculpture department, before returning to Berlin, where he held an important retrospective exhibition that toured to key German cities between 1912 and 1913.


Afterwards, the family lived in Switzerland (1918-20), before settling in London in 1921-24 (where he was also known as Henryk or Henry Glicenstein). Among his London pupils was printmaker Sybil Andrews (afterwards, closely associated, from 1925, with the Grosvenor School of Modern Art). Ben Uri's early minutes (in Yiddish) record that a huge event was organised to mark Glicenstein's arrival in England, and that the Society subsequently fundraised to buy several of his works, including Messiah, which was purchased in two instalments, and his sculpture of Israel Zangwill, afterwards displayed in Ben Uri's inaugural exhibition in 1925; works were also loaned to the important Jewish Art and Antiquities exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1927. Glicenstein's work was also exhibited at The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers Exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery in 1905, at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1924, and three times at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition between 1923 and 1925.


He returned to Italy in 1925, held solo exhibitions in Rome and Venice (1925-28) and exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1926) but had to leave the same year, after refusing to join the Fascist Party, and moved permanently to the USA with his son, Emanuel, settling in New York; they were joined by his wife and daughter in 1935. Enrico Glicenstein died in New York, in December 1942, after being struck by a cab. His son, Emanuel Glicenstein became a noted painter (under the name Emanuel Romano) settling in Safed, Israel, where the Glicenstein Museum (now the Israel Bible Museum) was later established. Enrico Glicenstein's works are in international collections, including the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Pompidou Centre in France, the Israel Museum, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome, the Krakow and the Warsaw National Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Cleveland Public Library. Some of Glicenstein's papers are in the Smithsonian Archive.