Grete Mostny-Glaser was born in Linz on September 17, 1914 to the factory owner Paul Mostny and his wife Julie, née Glaser. After gaining her Higher School Certificate, she enrolled at Vienna University in Egyptology, African studies and prehistory and completed her dissertation on “Clothing for Egyptian Woman in the Old Kingdom” in 1937.
But Grete Mostny-Glaser was not allowed to finish her studies in Vienna. In 1938, following the Anschluss of Austria into the Third Reich, she was forced to leave Vienna University with an approved dissertation but no degree.
She ended up graduating in Brussels in 1939 and then, after a study trip to Egypt, emigrated to Chile with her mother and younger brother Kurt, where she found a post at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural.
At the end of the Second World War, Grete Mostny-Glaser was awarded her doctorate in arrears from the Austria government. At the same time she was invited to come and lecture at the University of Vienna.
Mostny-Glaser rejected the offer and took Chilean citizenship in 1946. Here she did important archeological work for the whole of South America. She investigated the early cultures on the continent, led excavations and taught at the Faculty for Philosophy and Education at the University of Santiago, Chile. From 1964 to 1982 Grete Mostny-Glasner was Director of the Chilean National Museum for Natural History and expanded the entire Chilean museum network.
Grete Mostny-Glaser died in Santiago, Chile on December 15, 1991.