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An example of work by Anthony Battillo
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following, submitted December 2006, is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA: Fine Art Consultant, www.pkart.com|
Anthony Battillo — combat artist, technical illustrator, art director,
writer, marine and historical painter — was born in Brooklyn, NY on
June 7, 1917 and, as of December 15, 2006 at 89, is still working in
pencil and pen & ink at his home studio in Hyde Park, NY. He
and his wife Lillian were married in 1948. They have two
children, Robert and Diana, and three grandchildren, Melanie, Kristin,
With the support and encouragement of his mother, and with the color
pencil set and drawing pad she provided, Battillo began to develop his
talent at a very early age. When he reached high school, he was sure to
sign up for the art-general course so he could get as much training and
practice as possible. After high school he went to New York City
and enrolled at the Art Students League. There he had the good
fortune to study under William C. McNulty (1889-1963), an illustrator
and etcher with over three decades of experience in magazine and
newspaper illustration. McNulty taught drawing composition and figure
drawing with live models, a course of study that later aided Battillo
as an army combat artist and illustrator.
In his early school years he studied the many styles and schools of
fine art in order to aid in his understanding of the Old Masters he so
much appreciated and admired. Battillo went on to study industrial art
to not only to enhance his his rendering abilities, but also to broaden
his illustrative career. This enabled him to earn a good living
illustrating machines and machine parts, and freelancing for magazines
Right after Pearl Harbor was attacked, the 24-year-old artist enlisted
in the army and, after basic training, became part of an engineering
section of IV Corp Headquarters. Battillo was involved in drawing map
overlays and his topographical renderings provided combat maps for the
U.S. Army command. Later, in Italy, the 27-year old soldier was
assigned duty as a combat artist to record campaigns with his
illustrations. As stated by John Davis of the Poughkeepsie Journal,
Sergeant Battillo was "sketching history in the making" as one of 100
servicemen and civilian combat artists rendering the final months of
the Nazi campaign. Rough sketches were done in the field and the
finished renderings were done in a tent next to a lamp. His
most memorable sketches were of the final 19-day campaign between April
14 and May 2, 1945, leading to the surrender of more than 150,000 enemy
troops. Battillo said: "They were tickled pink to surrender."
After the war, Battillo continued to work in industry, freelance for
newspapers and magazines, and sell his ship and historical paintings to
private collectors. Later, in1950, in spite of contracting polio
the year before, he secured a management position in the Publications
department at IBM. During his 27-year career at IBM he managed 37
commercial artists and layout designers responsible for producing
technical manuals and illustrations.
His retirement years have seen a recurrence of polio, two shoulder
replacement operations in 1997, and eye surgery in September of 2005.
Notwithstanding his physical ailments, which keep him in a wheelchair
and homebound most of the time, he still works in pencil and ink. "Yet,
despite the physical setback, I feel I had a very successful and
satisfying life, and I am not ready to sit back and do nothing!"
Battillo's work is represented in the New York State Military Museum,
Saratoga, NY; the U.S. Army Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA; the
Soldiers National Museum, Gettysburg, PA; the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Headquarters, Kansas City, MO; and the Gettysburg National Military
Park, Gettysburg, PA.
His work was published in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine, and his illustrations appear throughout The Final Campaign Across Italy,
a U.S. Army publication printed in Milano, Italy in 1945. Copies
are filed in Carlisle Barracks, PA for use by researchers and
historians. Battillo's Civil War paintings have appeared on the
cover and inside of specialty magazines like the Civil War Times Illustrated and the tri-state newspaper, Harbor Watch.
As a scholar of the Civil War, Battillo composes the text for the
scenes he illustrates. His writing is said to be as detailed and
colorful as his art.
References: Artist's resume, August 2005; Battillo letter dated August 24, 2005; John Davis, "Hyde Park man shares memories," Poughkeepsie Journal, May 15, 2005; Ted & Stella Couris, Lowell, MA.
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