Born in Elkhart, Indiana and living the first part of his life in New York City and then West Hartford, Connecticut, William Schaldach was an artist, writer and illustrator.
From childhood he showed great interest in fishing and wild fowl. In 1908, he moved with his family to Michigan where he attended high school and did much writing and drawing and by age 19, had published a book of his own drawings.
He served in the Navy, and then studied at the Art Students League in New York City as a pupil of Harry Wickey, John Sloan and George Bridgman. In 1927, he made the first of many prints. “Throughout his career he produced several prints and watercolors of wildfowl, anglers with fly rods in rivers, streams and lakes, and game fish in the water. He was employed by the magazine “Forest and Stream” as a managing editor until the late 1930s, returning to the then renamed magazine (“Field and Stream”) after the Second World War.”
Much of his work celebrated his love of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico. His drawings and paintings reflect his fascination with the desert’s ever-changing colors, and his knowledge of flora and fauna as well as human inhabitants back to pre-historic times.
His fascination with the desert began in 1937. He and his wife and two young sons were living on a farm in Connecticut and were invited that year by their artist friend, Ray Strang, to spend the winter in a cottage on Strang’s ranch near Tucson, Arizona. Schaldach did some painting there, and between 1948 and 1956, he returned as a winter visitor to the Mexican border village of Sasabe. In 1956, he and his family made Arizona their permanent residence, settling in Tubac.
He did many paintings and etchings that reflect his interest in hunting and fishing, and in addition to writing and illustrating numerous magazine articles, he wrote and illustrated a book about himself titled Path to Enchantment: An Artist in the Sonora Desert (1963). He also wrote a biography, Carl Rungius, Big Game Painter, (1945) about the highly recognized wildlife artist. Other books by him are Fish by Schaldach (1937) and Currents and Eddies (1944)
Schaldach was a member of the Society of American Etchers, the Salmagundi Club and the Independent Society of Printmakers, all in New York. He participated in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Chicago Society of Etchers, the Artists for Victory at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 1939 New York World’s Fair and the American Watercolor Society in New York, to name a few. William Schaldach died in Tubac, Arizona in 1982.
Compiled by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier