The artist attended the MA Inst. Fine Arts, NYU, 1940 and the Art Students League of New York. He was a soldier Artist-Journalist with Stars and Stripes, Italy World War II 1941-45. The artist became a full-time picture-maker in 1949. Meltzoff was a member of the Society of animal artists.
Stanley Meltzoff (1917–2006) was one of America's foremost artists and illustrators of the 20th century. Born in New York, his father Nathan was a cantor at a Manhattan synagogue and instilled in his son a keen appreciation for the arts. Stanley was educated at CCNY, graduating with a Phi Beta Kappa key and falling into an instructorship at the famed Pratt Institute of Art before the advent of World War II. During the war, he was a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, the legendary military publication that introduced the world to Bill Mauldin and Andy Rooney, among others. Meltzoff was an illustrator, bringing to life the news of the day and creating visuals for Puptent Poets, a small paperback of soldiers' verse that struck a nerve with every serviceman who opened its pages.
Returning to NY after the war, he spent five years alternating between teaching and art, finally gaining the artistic courage to go out on his own. The 1950s were spent creating dozens of pulp fiction paperback covers for the likes of Robert Heinlein (among many others) and completing a variety of striking pictures for a number of high-profile Madison Avenue advertisers. Along the way, he painted covers and interior spreads for the likes of Life, National Geographic, Saturday Evening Post, The Atlantic, and many others. His 65 covers for Scientific American was an indication of the good company that demanded his work. Today his art hangs in the National Gallery (Smithsonian), Getty Museum, and many other world-class institutions.
However, with the advent of low-cost color photography and reproduction in the early 1960s, illustration artists such as Stanley found their finally honed skills less in demand. Bowing to the times, he switched gears and began painting saltwater game fish in their undersea environments. He was the first to do so, attracting the attention first of Sports Illustrated and later virtually all outdoor media. He painted virtually all the major big-game species, eschewing fresh water species as being easier to see and thus less interesting to paint. His art would run in virtually every major outdoor publication, including Field and Stream, Gray's Sporting Journal, Outdoor Life, Sporting Classics, Sports Afield, Wildlife Art, and others. Widely recognized by a variety of admirers and institutions, he continued to garner accolades until the end of his life. Today it is not too much to say that virtually every fish painter of any stature still regards Stanley Meltzoff as not only the father of the genre but still its unchallenged master. Meltzoff died in 2006 at age 89. A book on his life and work will be published in late 2009.
- NY Times Obituary Retrieved October 23, 2008
- Stanley Meltzoff Official Website: Biography Retrieved October 23, 2008
- Artists for Conservation Organization: Member Biography Retrieved October 23, 2008