Jean Gler
Oil on canvas, created by Ofir Hirsh in 1999

Nobody really knows who Jean Gler was. Where? when? and who invented the myth? The ‘legend’ is about an elegant, somewhat secretive gentleman, often associated with style, quality, luxury and clearly beautiful ladies.
When you taste an exquisite Whiskey, you can declare: …mmm…Jean Gler!
In 1999 I began working in sales and had hard times. Frustrated from being rejected so many times, as a joke, I presented myself in a ‘cold call’ as ‘Jean Gler’ instead of Ofir and did it with a heavy French accent.
Surprisingly, I managed to set up a meeting and made a big sale. I realized that not only others react differently to different names and accents, but so do I. That name made me behave like another person.
The night after, I completed a few paintings and naturally signed them as ‘Jean Gler’.
During 1999-2000 I signed most of my paintings as Jean Gler, and some friends from that period still call me ‘Jean Gler’ when we meet.
Going forward I went back to this identity on a few occasions, and in 2007 I produced an entire “Jean Gler II” series.
In “Investilosophy”, a book I published in 2012, I named one of the protagonists Jean Gler.
Jean Gler was the first identity I adopted and it lead the way to what I now define as my ‘identities practice’, which produced 40 more identities over the years, and hopefully many more to come.


Jean Gler in Amsterdam
Photo by Limor Nessa Shelemay