Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990 )
An American Master
This past weekend we celebrated Father's Day in a unique way. Growing up in our family of four - our business involved everyone in the arts. I teach art and practice it at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. My brother Paul, is a graphic designer, book designer and artist, and our father and mother were both artists and illustrators - so it was inescapable in our family! We love it and have made our careers so far in the arts - and art worked for our father, and it works for us. But I am getting off track here, I just want to say that we celebrated this Father's Day by opening a retrospective of our Arthur Singer's artwork in a setting that is unique in Millersburg, PA, near Harrisburg. The place is called The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art. Our show is called: "Arthur Singer, An American Master".
The State Birds and Flowers commemorative stamp series, 1982
At the top is a photo of Arthur Singer made by Lenny Eiger in 1982 just as our series of Birds and Flower stamps were about to be issued and released in Washington, D.C. I say our series because I worked with my dad and painted all the flowers for the fifty designs. They would go on to be best sellers. But this was not the first time that Arthur Singer would have a hit with his artwork. In the 1950s he produced a series of eight paintings that were made into prints for American Home Magazine that sold millions of copies, ( see the series below ).
American Home prints on view at
Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art
Arthur Singer also illustrated over twenty books like his "Birds of North America", a Golden Guide that is still in print after selling over six million copies ( over the past 50 plus Years ).
Arthur Singer's best selling Golden Guide
in print since the 1960s
Arthur was born in New York City on Audubon Avenue ( !! ) and got started in art early in life, he was drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil. He was also an avid collector of pictures and books -especially about nature. He was a jazz lover and dancer. One of his close friends was Duke Ellington, and my dad designed covers for some of Duke's well known albums.
Comp for Ellington Album cover
In the late 1930s Arthur Singer went to The Cooper Union to broaden his art education and he later went back to his alma mater to teach. Before that he had a stint in the U.S. Army during World War ll.
Arthur Singer paints an ostrich circa 1942
My father brought his paints and brushes to the battle. During the war Arthur was part of the Ghost Army, and they were dedicated to creating deceptions on the battlefield. My dad painted camouflage when he was on duty and when he had some free time he went out into the countryside and painted images of war in Europe. Now, we hope to one day have an exhibition of Arthur Singer's World War ll paintings and drawings because they are an awesome historical document. My brother Paul has designed a new book to chronicle the exploits of the Ghost Army with my father's artwork as the centerpiece, and with his letters written back home as a text.
Ghost Army by Rick Beyer, cover art by Arthur Singer
My parents were married just before the Americans became involved in World War ll, and so later when my father returned from the theatre of war, they had two sons - my brother, Paul and myself. We grew up in the New York area and my father went to work in advertising first, and then publishing.
His love of nature - in particular birds and animals - became his main career - painting portraits for books and magazines. So now we can celebrate his life and enjoy his art in our new show now open in Pennsylvania. Here is a link to the Ned Smith Center for further information - it is a great looking show with over sixty works of art by Arthur Singer. I hope you will see it ! Here is the link:http://www.nedsmithcenter.org/arthur-singer-an-american-master/
Our show of Arthur Singer at
The Ned Smith Center
for Nature and Art