Born Dunedin, New Zealand c.1880, arrived Australia 1892, died Melbourne 1977


Charles Wheeler’s professional career began as a lithographic assistant, instilling in him great technical skill and exactitude with form and colour. In Melbourne, Wheeler took evening classes at the Working Men’s College (now RMIT University), and the National Gallery School, under Frederick McCubbin (1898–1907).

In 1910 the National Gallery of Victoria acquired one of Wheeler’s paintings of a figure. He left for London in 1912, visiting Madrid and Paris, where he exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1913. After serving during World War I and before returning to Melbourne, he exhibited with the Royal Academy in London.

Wheeler possessed an academic style and was considered a good draftsman, with a strong grasp of technique. His landscapes were impressionist in style, and remained a consistent subject until his death. The Victorian College of the Arts held a posthumous retrospective of his work in 1979. In counterbalance to his landscapes, Wheeler painted tonal portraits of elegant, female nudes rendered with great realism.

Wheeler exhibited with the Royal Arts Society in Sydney (from 1923), the Victorian Artists Society, and the Australian Art Association. In 1933 he won the Archibald Prize, and in 1934, the Crouch Prize. He is represented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of Western Australia and other state galleries.