The following was submitted by his granddaughter Katrina Remaily:
One of the foremost early Indiana artists, his work represents an individuality in style, a strong sense of color and excellence of design. He painted portraits, still lives, landscapes, as well as murals for public buildings.
Born in Hadley on September 4, 1883, his family moved to Mooresville during his early childhood years. Later, the aspiring painter met William Forsyth, who took him on painting trips, giving encouragement and technical guidance. In 1902 Wheeler went to New York City and studied with William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Among his classmates were Wayman Adams, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper and Guy Pene DuBois.
In the summer of 1907, and again in 1910, he went to Italy with a painting class conducted by William Merritt Chase. As the student showing the most improvement and promise, he was awarded a large, characteristic oil still life, painted by Chase. Later, Wheeler studied in Paris, France, and became friends with Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso.
He was urged to stay in New York following his studies, but Wheeler returned home to Indiana, where he taught for many years at the Herron Art Institute and Butler University, while teaching summers at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was a member of the Portfolio Club, the Indiana Artists Club, and the Society of Western Artists.
During summer trips he painted in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, the woodlands of Michigan, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the Catskills and Seneca Lake regions of New York State, and other scenic areas. In Indiana, he painted the dunes of Like Michigan and the bluffs of the Ohio River.
Wheeler won many awards in his lifetime, and his works are well represented in museums, public buildings and private collections all over the country.
He was one of two artists selected to represent Indiana at the World's Fairs in New York and San Francisco.
Clifton A. Wheeler died on May 10, 1953.
1921 Cincinnati Museum
1936 First National Exhibition of American Art, International Building, Rockefeller Center, New York
1937 John H. Vanderpoel Art Association Annual Exhibition, Beverly Hills and Chicago
1939 Golden Gate International Exposition
1940 World's Fair, Galleries of Science and Art, New York City
also exhibited at Carson, Pierie and Scott, Chicago (solo); Hoosier Salon Chicago and Indianapolis (repeatedly); Hudson's, Detroit; Indiana Artists Club; L.S. Ayres & Co., Indianapolis; Carnegie Annual Exhibtion; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual Exhibtion, Philadelphia.
1917 Richmond Prize (Indiana)
1921 and 1923 Holcomb Prize, John Herron Art Institute
1924 Art Association Prize
1927 Franklin College Prize
Rector Memorial Prize
Indiana University Prize
Brookside School and Circle Theatre, both Indianapolis, Indiana
John Herron Art Institute
Indiana University, Bloomington
DePauw University, Muncie, Indiana
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Richmond Museum of Art, Richmond, Indiana
Indianapolis City Hospital (murals)
Mooresville Public Library, Indiana
Irvington Public Library, Indianapolis
Georg Julian School, Indianapolis
Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana
Rose Polytechnic Institute, Terre Haute, Indiana
St. Joseph's Convent, Tipton, Indiana
Syracuse, Indiana Public Library
Thornton, Indiana Public Library
Whittier School, Indianapolis
Nancy Hanks Memorial/Lincoln Memorial, Shelbyville, Indiana
Clifton Wheeler was born in Hadley, Indiana in 1883 moving later to Mooresville. He was trained by William Forsyth and in 1902 went to New York City and studied under William Merrit Chase, Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Among his classmates were Wayman Adams, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, and Edward Hopper.
He made two trips to Europe to study, Italy and France, becoming friends with Walter Pach, Gertrude Stein and Picasso. In 1910 he married fellow artist Hilah Drake, and they made their home in Irvington, Indiana where he went on to teaching positions with the Herron Art Institute and Butler University.
He was a member of the Portfolio Club, Indiana Artists Club, and the Society of Western Artists.Clifton Wheeler won many awards during his lifetime with many exhibitions including the Hoosier Salon and New York and San Francisco Worlds fairs. He was instrumental in the 1914 murals at the Indianapolis General Hospital childrens' ward.
His paintings have an individuality of style. Evident is the impressionistic qualities from his early training balanced by a strong sense of design and color. He was also a strong portrait artist. Many of his works are landscapes and scenes from the areas he lived including his home state of Indiana.