Remembering Arthur Shilstone – 1922-2020

Arthur Shilstone: 1922-2020

We at Sportsman’s Palette ask you to share with us in celebrating the life of a man who made so many great contributions to our world through his kind heart, his warm way with people, and his magnificent talent as a painter, from which he created such wonderful imagery for more than 90 years. He has brought such richness to the lives of all those he touched over the years through his beautiful paintings and he will be greatly missed by Family, friends and collectors. Arthur passed peacefully at his home on July 30, 2020 –  in the surroundings he so loved and from which he experienced such peace and happiness – surrounded by his beloved Family.

Arthur epitomized the phrase “A Life Well Lived”. Furthermore, Arthur is perhaps one of the finest examples of those within The Greatest Generation for all that he had endured and experienced in his lifetime. To quote JFK, Arthur was one of  “a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.” 

Shilstone’s distinguished career spanned almost 80 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 was 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 managed 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. 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 created during his career.

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