Preserving the artist's heritage

Arthur DeCosta (Deceased)

Biography prepared in 2004
Sponsored by Woodmere Art Museum
Paul De Sold, Docent
Douglass Paschall, Advisor

No Interview was made.
Artist's Statement: Renowned for subtlety and beauty, DeCosta's work created a bridge between the history of classic European and American works in oil and the complex world of contemporary painting. His legacy as a painter and a great teacher continues to inspire and build the future of Philadelphia artists.

Arthur DeCosta grew up in Philadelphia, where he was self-taught as an artist
and attended one year of cast drawing classes at the University of
Pennsylvania. During World War II he served for three years with the 8th United States Air Force in England. As an artist with Special Services in the 355th Fighting Group, he painted portraits of American and Allied military officials in England and Germany.

DeCosta graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1948,
with a concentration in mural design. Among his many commissions is the official portrait of the late Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo. His numerous
achievements include exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy, National Academy of Design, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He also taught for many years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
His classes often were filled to overflowing and he continued to mentor many
artists long after they had graduated from art school. During his years on the
faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy, he developed a reputation as an
instructor of unparalleled knowledge and insight concerning the art and technique of painting. He guided and influenced the development and careers of countless students and artists.

DeCosta also formulated the first alkyd synthetic oil paint, Turco Classic
Painting Medium, now sold commercially. This medium replicates paints used by Renaissance artists, while reducing the fragility of the original medium.

He received the Academy's Distinguished Alumni Award in May of 2004. In
addition, two recent exhibitions honored DeCosta this spring: a showing of his
works at the Woodmere Art Museum, and An Instructor's Legacy: The Pedagogical Work and Students of Arthur DeCosta at the Philadelphia Sketch Club.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
- Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts;
- Philadelphia Art Alliance;
- National Academy of Design

Teaching Experience:
- Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, painting

- University of Pennsylvania (one year - cast drawing)
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1948

Contact Information:
Paul du Sold
6903 Wayne Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119