Writer, artist, etcher, champion gymnast & lecturer, Gleason was a formally trained artist in New York at the Art Student's League; in Mexico at San Carlos Academy; in Chicago at the Art Institute and in Los Angeles at University of Southern California.
Professionally he worked for both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Brothers studios as an art technician. Initially engaged by the Sunset Engraving Company of Los Angeles, on the other coast he was graphic artist for several magazines. He also illustrated his books, one of some import showing early views of west coast maritime history: "The Islands & Ports of California".
A member of many art guilds, Gleason exhibited widely at the National Academy of Design; California Art Club, Santa Monica Art Association; Academy of Western Painters and Los Angeles Painters & Sculptors Club. (He acted as advisory board member to the Los Angeles Art Commission as well.)
He was active in World War II as an ensign in the coast guard reserve and was promoted to the position of vice-commodore. (Both his grandfather and great-uncle were mariners.) This experience is reflected in Gleason's familiarity with ships & sea. His 20th century life and careers are as full of color as his remarkable marine and landscape paintings.
Duncan Gleason's work can be found in the collection of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY as well as many important private and institutional collections.