Arthur Shilstone 1922-2020
Shilstone’s distinguished career has spanned over 70 years. After graduating from high school, Arthur enrolled at Pratt Institute but, when the United States entered World War II he enlisted in the Army. After a short time, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, which specialized in deceiving the enemy through special effects and deploying regiments of inflatable rubber 93-pound M4 tanks.
After World War II, he was discovered by Life Magazine and went on many important assignments, including coverage of the Sam Shepard Murder Trial, the funeral of Senator Joseph McCarthy, an investigation of the sinking of the Andrea Doria and school integration argued before the Supreme Court.
Readers of nearly every major publication will be familiar with his evocative paintings as his work has illustrated articles in the likes of Smithsonian, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and The New York Time Magazines, to name a few. He is an award winning member of the American Watercolor Society and the Society of Illustrators.
When the Smithsonian Institution wanted someone to capture the story of important military events for their magazine, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Invasion of Normandy to coverage of air lift operations (especially the evacuation of wounded soldiers during the Korean war), they called on Arthur. For NASA, he did a series of paintings of the Space Shuttle, beginning with her maiden voyage. His artwork has gone a long way toward defining how Americans have seen historic events.
40 years ago, Arthur began painting outdoor sporting scenes for himself. These wonderfully lyrical and spontaneous paintings of places like the Adirondack lake country, salmon running the Miramichi, Chesapeake marshes, the Alaskan tundra and lush Connecticut waterways, can be seen in collections across the country. Under Shilstone’s extremely skilled hands, details are subtle in his washes and what emerges is as much a feeling as a picture; as much a sense to be placed as a place to be sensed. He manages to paint his riverscapes in such a way that you feel like you’ve fished that spot.
In 2015, the comprehensive book on Shilstone’s distinguished & diverse career – Arthur Shilstone – A Lifetime Of Drawing And Painting (Tide-mark Press) was published and released to the market. Written by Fred Polhemus, the foremost authority of Shilstone’s art, the book covers Shilstone’s career starting with his youth and art school all the way through to his current position as the Sporting Art Market’s premier watercolorist and includes more than 150 pages and several hundred images of all subjects he has created during his career.