Clifton Wheeler was born in Hadley, Indiana, but his family moved to Mooresville when he was a child. Later Wheeler met William Forsyth who gave him encouragement and technical guides. Wheeler went to New York City and studied with William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. His fellow classmates included Ge3orge Bellows Edward Hopper and guy Pène DuBois. He traveled to Italy with Chase’s painting class and later to Paris and became friends with Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. Although he was urged to stay in New York, Wheeler returned home to Indiana where he taught for many years at the Herrron Art Institute and Butler University. In the summer he taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He painted in North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee and Upstate New York capturing scenes of the Black, Smoky, Rocky and Catskill Mountains as well as the dunes on Lake Michigan. Wheeler painted in an impressionist style with a strong sense of color and design.
Wheeler’s Indianapolis home on Irvington’s Lowell Avenue was near Pleasant Run Parkway and the Ellenberger Woods, offering Wheeler convenient subject matter for his landscapes. Unlike Steele’s early view of a farm near Pleasant Run, Wheeler’s painting of 1923 shows the residential areas that had built up around the parkway. While Steele’s Munich training manifests itself in dark tonalities and a subdued palette, Wheeler’s painting shows a familiarity with the bright hues of Impressionism.
Mary Q. Burnet. Art and Artists of Indiana, New York: The Century Company, 1921. Reprinted by Unigraphic, Inc., 1981. ASIN: B002J7QO2K