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 Wilmer G Behler  (1915 - 1994)

About: Wilmer G Behler


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape painting, lithography, commercial art

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BIOGRAPHY for Wilmer Behler
1915 (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
1994 (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)


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modernist-leaning landscape painting, lithography, commercial art

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Biography from Jim's Of Lambertville:
Wilmer G. Behler was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he lived throughout his life.  A self-taught artist with no formal training, he spent his early years painting constantly while visiting museums and working with artists of renown.  Employed by the Bethlehem Steel Company during World War II, Behler continued to paint as a hobby.  He was later employed by the Lehigh Advertising Company as a sign painter. Eventually Behler was afforded an opportunity to become one of the founders and art director of the Lehigh Lithography Company.

Among his early successes was the reproduction of one of his paintings by the Hallmark Company as a contemporary American Artist's greeting card.  Subsequently, his work was shown at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Behler's artistic accomplishments brought further awards and honors, including one-man shows at the Allentown Art Museum and the Lamplight Gallery in Philadelphia, as well as three shows at the Kemmerer Museum in Bethlehem.  In addition, he received a commission to paint a 48-foot mural of the Liberty Bell's trip from Philadelphia to Allentown, which was installed in the Liberty Bell Shrine at Zion's Reformed Church in Allentown.

Behler is best known for his scenes of local landscapes, using an unusual modernist technique with the use of a palette knife as well as a brush. His earlier work is in the impressionist style.  He taught private painting lessons in his North Light Studio in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

His work is represented in many private collections throughout the United States. He believed that being an artist was the most fulfilling life a person could have. He insisted, "A man must paint the things he loves and love the things he paints." Behler died in 1994.

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