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John

Wehmer

John Wehmer was born in 1927 in St. Louis. He attended Washington University before serving in the Navy during World War II. When he returned from service to Missouri, he began a program of study in art at the University of Missouri, but after a year decided that a return to Washington University in St. Louis would better suit him and the progression of his work. Mid-twentieth-century St. Louis supported a thriving arts scene, with the St. Louis Art Museum sponsoring artists through awards and exhibitions, Washington University serving as an intellectual and artistic hub where artist-professors and students inspired and challenged each other, and major collectors resided and regularly invested in the arts. Through the 1950s and 60s Wehmer created numerous vibrant paintings and woodblock prints, quite related to Abstract Expressionism but with a unique sense of shape-based composition and color-derived mood. Wehmer became disillusioned with the art world around the late 1960s, ceased exhibiting these works, and stored them away. They’ve emerged again only in the last decade, and with the works, this artist’s merit has also come to renewed light.