(May 16, 1914-Oct. 2, 1973). Born in Mount Vernon, Indiana, Wehr graduated from the Herron School Of Art with a B.F.A. in 1937. He then became an instructor in advertising art at the school, later serving as head of the commercial art department until 1944. In that year, he became an illustrator with Stevens-Gross Studios in Chicago, where he remained until his retirement in 1968. 

Oil painting showing the exterior of the Medical Science Building.
Medical Science Building Painting by Paul Wehr, 1966 Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source

Wehr produced paintings for the advertising campaigns of Coca-Cola, Standard Oil, and Ford. His illustrations appeared on the covers of Collier’s, Coronet, Country Gentleman, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, True, and other national magazines. Additionally, he illustrated stories in several fiction magazines. He created artwork that exemplified idealized scenes of American life. Although it is not clear whether the Saturday Evening Post ever accepted any of his work, he has been nicknamed “the Norman Rockwell of Indiana.”

Wehr received numerous awards for his paintings and designs, and he exhibited at the American Water Color Society, Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Water Color Society, Indiana Artists Exhibition, Hoosier Salon, and the Indianapolis Museum Of Art. In 1966, he won first prize in the competition for the design of the Indiana Sesquicentennial emblem and also designed the five-cent postage stamp that commemorates the Hoosier State’s 150th anniversary.

An expert in the field of illustration and advertising, Wehr was particularly admired for his control of watercolor and related media. He was a member of the Indiana Artists and the Portfolio Clubs of Indianapolis, as well as the Hoosier Salon. His works appear in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Herron School of Art, the Indiana State Museum, and DePauw University.

Revised July 2021
Visual Arts

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