Wilhelm Wessel entertained his first personal contacts with Schwitters and Kandinsky in 1923. In April and May of the following year, Wessel worked at the Weimar Bauhaus under Kandinsky, which was followed by four months designing book covers for the Czech publishing house Dobré Dilo. Afterwards he taught at the "Deutsche Oberrealschule" and the French St Benoit-Collége in Constantinople until summer 1926.
From 1925 Wilhelm Wessel traveled through Greece and the Middle East. From 1928 to 1931 Wilhelm Wessel studied Middle Eastern archeology and painting, initially under Cesar Klein and later at the "Staatliche Hochschule für freie und angewandte Kunst" in Berlin under Karl Hofer. That year the artist undertook several study trips to Paris and London.
Having passed the examination qualifying him as an art teacher, Wilhelm Wessel taught in Berlin and Westphalia from 1931 to 1939. After the end of the war and his internment as a prisoner of war, Wessel lived as a freelance painter in Iserlohn.
During the 1950s Wilhelm Wessel spent a longer period of time in the Mediterranean and in Paris every year to work as an artist. From 1951 to 1958 Wessel was chairman of the "Westdeutscher Künstlerbund" and in 1954 he was behind the first German exhibition at the "Stedelijk-Museum" in Amsterdam.
During the 1960s Wilhelm Wessel traveled to New York, Peru and the Bahamas.
He died in Iserlohn in 1971. Over the past decades Wessel's work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions (including ones at Karl-Ernst-Osthaus-Museum in Hagen in 1946, Stadler gallery in Paris in 1958-1963 and Landesmuseum Münster in 1973) and contributed to exhibitions (including the XXIX Venice Biennale in 1958, the 1970 and 1973 international art exhibition "Art Basel" ) at home and abroad.