William Joseph Schaldach1896 - 1982
Painter, Illustrator, Writer
Born: 1896, Elkhart, Indiana
Died: 1982, Tubac, Arizona
As is the case with many artists who focus on wildlife subject matter in their work, William Schaldach's interest in art and depicting nature grew from a childhood love of the outdoors. He was an enthusiastic fisherman from a very early age, and also took an interest in hunting game birds as a teenager. He had moved with his family to Michigan around 1908, and took up drawing during his high school years. Also a talented writer, Schaldach published an article about some of his illustrations when he was only nineteen years old.
After high school, Schaldach served in the United States Navy though his love of art remained strong; he enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City when he finished his military service obligations. While in New York, Schaldach studied under Harry Wickey, John Sloan, and George Bridgman, learning various printmaking and drafting techniques. He created his first prints around 1927, though he continued to produce work in watercolor after this time. Schaldach soon went to work for Forest and Stream magazine, which would eventually be renamed Field and Stream, where he would remain employed until the late 1930s.
Around 1937, living on a Connecticut farm with his wife and two sons, Schaldach accepted an invitation that would produce a turning point in his career; artist friend Ray Strang invited the Schaldachs to spend the winter on his ranch near Tucson, Arizona. Schaldach fell in love with the colorful desert atmosphere, and after serving in World War II and rejoining the staff at Field and Stream for a time in the post-War years, he convinced his family to permanently settle in Tubac, Arizona, in 1956. (Schaldach had been painting in the town of Sasabe, Arizona every winter since 1948).
Schaldach lived and worked in Tubac for the rest of his life until his death in 1982. Dedicated to depicting the Sonora Desert during the latter years of his career, Schaldach also produced several books and held membership in significant art organizations. His biography of Carl Rungius and his Path to Enchantment: An Artist in the Sonora Desert are among Schaldach's most notable works. He was a member of such groups as the New York-based Society of American Etchers and the Independent Society of Printmakers, and had exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, among others.