Cleo Hartwig took her subject matter from her experiences as a youth in rural Michigan. She often carved infant animals and germinating plants from wood or stone. These sculptures of eggs, seeds, and chrysalises capture a sense of energy and the promise of life. Hartwig attended Western Michigan University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the International School of Art; in 1951 she married sculptor Vincent Glinsky, a founding member of the Sculptors Guild in Manhattan. Hartwig taught sculpture at the Montclair Art Museum from 1945 to 1971.