(Andalusia, Pennsylvania, b. 1937)
As a student at the Art Students League as a young man, Nelson Shanks paid his tuition by working as an aide in the classes of some of the nation's most renowned realist painters. He worked privately with the artist, John Koch, and further developed his painting skills. His hard work paid off as he received two of the most prestigious grants given to realist painters, the Greenshields Foundation and the Stacey Foundation. These grants allowed the artist to complete his education in Europe, where he worked with Pietro Annigoni.
On his return to the United States Shanks began teaching. He taught in Memphis and Chicago before finally settling in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he currently resides. He has been on the faculty at the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, and the George Washington University, among others. He established the Studio Incamminati, a school where he teaches students dedicated to realist painting.
Shanks has had many notable commissions including President Bill Clinton; Diana Princess of Wales and Charles, Lord Spencer; Luciano Pavarotti, and Pope John Paul II.
In 2006 he was awarded the Governor's Distinguished Arts Award; an award granted to an artist residing in Pennsylvania of international renown whose work has contributed to the Commonwealth. Shanks is an honorary member of the American Society of Classical Realism Guild of Artists.
One man shows are scheduled in Italy and Russia.