William Joseph Schaldach (1896 – 1982)

William Joseph Schaldach Museum Collections


William Schaldach is known as a prolific illustrator and author of books and articles on fishing and fowl hunting.

Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Schaldach was passionate about angling and wildfowling from a young age. His family moved to Michigan in 1908, and during his high school years he wrote and drew about outdoor sporting, publishing his first article at age 19. After a stint in the Navy, Schaldach moved to New York in 1919 selling fishing tackle during the day and attending the Art Students League in the evening. He studied under John Sloan and George Bridgman from whom he learned drypoint, etching, and aquatint.

Schaldach began writing and illustrating for Forest and Stream magazine in the early 1920s. He was made associate editor when the magazine merged with Field & Stream in 1930, and soon became managing editor, working there until the late 1930s. Schaldach also contributed over the years to such magazines as Esquire, American Forests, and Outdoor Life.

Beginning in 1937, Schaldach wrote and illustrated a series of books on hunting and fishing. The first was a compilation of his prints, drawings, and watercolors, entitled Fish by Schaldach. It was followed by Coverts & Casts (1943), Currents & Eddies (1944), Upland Gunning (1946), and The Wind on Your Cheek (1972.) He also illustrated the books of several other outdoors writers.

Schaldach produced two books on art. The first was a biography, Carl Rungius Big Game Painter, published in 1945. The second was a reflection on his love of painting in Arizona entitled, Path to Enchantment: An Artist in the Sonoran Desert which appeared in 1963. Schaldach first became acquainted with the desert in 1937 when he and his family visited artist friend, Ray Strang, on his ranch near Tucson. Beginning in 1948, the Schaldachs made annual winter visits to the border town of Sasabe, and they moved permanently to Arizona in 1956, settling in Tubac.

Schaldach was a member of the Salmagundi Club, Society of American Etchers, and the Independent Society of Printmakers. He participated in various exhibitions including the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago Society of Etchers, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1939 New York Worlds Fair, and the American Watercolor Society. A book on Schaldach’s life and work, William J Schaldach: Artist, Author, Sportsman, and a second compilation of his art, Schaldach Etchings were published several years after his death.