(Aug. 5, 1880-Jan. 31, 1971). Born in Indianapolis, Hadley attended Manual High School, studying art under Hoosier Group artist Otto Stark. Upon graduation, he attended the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia.

A wooden shed sits in a yard. There is a water pump in front of the door and various pots and pans around the entrance.
“Milk House,” watercolor on paper, Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, n.d. Credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields View Source

Hadley designed stained glass windows for churches and did interior decorating before joining the faculty of the John Herron Art Institute in 1922. At Herron, he taught classes in watercolor and interior design for 10 years and later served as Assistant Curator to the John Herron Art Museum.

Hadley is best known for his creation of Indiana’s state flag in 1916. In celebration of the state’s centennial, the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) sponsored a juried flag competition. Hadley’s flag won the top prize and was officially accepted by the Indiana General Assembly in 1917.

A man in a suit and a man in a smock stand on either side of a flag mounted on the wall.
Paul Hadley, designer of the Indiana state flag, looks on as a Herron Art Institute student applies gold leaf to the original flag presented to the state, ca. 1923 Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

Hadley’s watercolors brought him many awards in the annual Hoosier Salon, Indiana Artists Club, and Indiana State Fair art exhibitions. His work is located in the collections of Shortridge High School (now housed at the Indiana State Museum), Manual High School, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at newfields. Mooresville, Indiana, named its junior high school after the celebrated artist, who was a long-time resident of the community.

Revised February 2021
Visual Arts

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