Joseph Csatari

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Joseph Csatari
South River, New Jersey
EducationAcademy of Arts, Newark, New Jersey
Alma materPratt Institute
AwardsSilver Buffalo Award

Joseph Csatari (born 1929, South River, New Jersey, as son of Hungarian immigrants[1]) is a realist artist who worked with Norman Rockwell. As a boy, Csatari had painstakingly recreated Saturday Evening Post covers that Rockwell had painted. In 1977, shortly before Rockwell died, Csatari was commissioned as the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)'s official artist.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Csatari studied art at the Academy of Arts, Newark, New Jersey and also at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In 1953, he became an artist in the layout division in BSA Supply Division's advertising department. In 1958, he became the art director; designing advertising and sales promotional pieces, cover illustrations, and posters. Like his mentor Rockwell, he also served as art director of Boys' Life magazine at the beginning of his career, being named to that position in 1973. This was the time he worked closely with Rockwell. Csatari's job was to come up with possible themes for the paintings and make rough sketches for Rockwell. Once Rockwell decided on a concept, Csatari would gather models and shuttle them up for a photo shoot in the artist's studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Csatari often assisted Rockwell on his work at this time as by then Rockwell was aging. In 1976 when Rockwell retired from the calendar commission, the BSA asked Csatari to continue in the Rockwell tradition. Csatari says that while he paints in Rockwell's style, he is no Rockwell, whom he considers in another league.

Since the 1977 BSA calendar, Csatari has made 24 paintings for the Boy Scouts of America, including a painting commemorating the endowment program's 1910 Society. In 1997 an exhibit of these paintings toured the United States at fund-raising events in local councils throughout the country. Though it's not well known, Csatari also painted more than 10 official portraits of BSA presidents and Chief Scout Executives during his career. But it is his paintings of "Boy Scouts being Boy Scouts, having fun in the outdoors, and doing community service projects" that he finds most rewarding.[3]

Csatari became a freelance artist in 1977 and has painted for many magazines and companies, as well as having painted designs for two U.S. postage stamps and several book covers. He lives in South River, New Jersey, where he maintains an art studio at his home, and has a wife and three children.[1] He has received several awards of excellence in Editorial Art Directing from the Society of Illustrators, New York.

In early June 2005, Csatari was awarded the BSA's highest honor, the Silver Buffalo Award. [4] In 2008, a twelve-city U.S. tour of Norman Rockwell's and Csatari's artworks was scheduled.[5]

Critique of his work[edit]

Being an eager and willing disciple of Rockwell, Csatari is often viewed in the same manner, an illustrator, not an artist, who paints in overly sentimental tones when depicting people and Americana.[citation needed] Csatari does not mind these comparisons and critiques, nor did Rockwell. Csatari's paintings of nature are quite accurate and detailed.

Major works[edit]


  1. ^ Zimmer, William (January 13, 2002). "New York Times, January 13, 2002". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  2. ^ "Csatari's official site". Csatari Artwork. Retrieved January 30, 2006.
  3. ^ "Joseph Csatari". Rockwell and Csatari: Boy Scout Calendar Artists. Retrieved January 30, 2006.
  4. ^ "Artist has another brush with fame" by John Dunphy, Sentinel, June 9, 2005, retrieved January 30, 2006
  5. ^ "Rockwell and Csatari: A tour de force". Scouting magazine: 6. March–April 2008.


  1. ^ Granieri, Laurie. "PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST", Asbury Park Press, January 6, 2002. Accessed February 5, 2011. "Joe Csatari is in a reflective mood today. He relaxes in his home art studio in South River, a sunlit perch set among bare tree branches..."

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