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Hem Wetchakon (เหม เวชกร)

Name of a 20th century Thai writer, painter and illustrator, who is best known for his illustrations on the covers of cheap pulp novels, which in turn have influenced many other Thai artists. It is estimated that he produced over 50,000 pieces of art, including pen and pencil drawings, watercolors, oil paintings and posters. Besides Thai rural life, his work portrays scenes and characters from Thai history and Thai classical literature. In 1930, Hem was selected as one of the artists to renovate the murals in Wat Phra Kaew, i.e. the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, for Rattanakosin's 150th anniversary celebrations in 1932. In 2004, four of his works were depicted on a set of Thai postage stamps (fig.). Hem Wetchakon was born in Bangkok on 17 January 1904 and passed away in Thonburi on 16 April 1969, at the age of 65. Before his death, King Bhumipol Adulyadej had entrusted him to draw oil painting that would be given as presents to royal visitors. His name is also transliterated Hem Vejakorn.