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Read what fellow artists, journalists and friends say about Scalise’s art.


A Master Painter and Draftsman

Nick Scalise was a master painter and draftsman, this is a simple and undeniable fact. He made thousands of beautiful and insightful paintings and drawings. It made no difference whether he was using watercolors, ink, oil, pen and pencil, charcoal, conte crayon or gouache, he was at home in any of these mediums. Perhaps most importantly, it was what Nick Scalise saw and felt that impelled his art to such moving dimensions. Here was a man with a deep compassion and heart for humanity and a love of the human spirit. The subject matter of most of his paintings was the humble common folk of all races and nationalities. He loved the hard working attitudes of these people, their pious demeanor, their motherliness and often their childlikeness. These things of the spirit inspired him. Not surprisingly then that he found the subjects of his art an elderly woman sweeping a front sidewalk, a man walking across a plaza, a boy finding adventure in a cardboard box, a man selling fish in a market, a donkey with a decorated saddle, a stain on a wall, someone looking out a window or a braid on the back of a head. To us, his admirers, we often ask, how wonderful for someone to transform these little things of importance for us.

Nick had a greatly developed ability to manipulate the various components of the picture he was making. He knew that even a slight turn of the pencil or a too opaque blue in a certain spot could hinder a detail and therefore the meaning of what he was trying to achieve. Every little thing in a drawing or painting was important to him. He marveled how a certain tone of color done in a particular way could express so much feeling. He loved talking about how a wash of color could express so many ideas, how the view of the back of a head could be so alluring and how a certain fabric could be represented. His technique was always admired even from his student days. He was a master of contrasts blurred and hard lines, wash and detail, the contrasts of opaque and transparent and near and distant. He understood the power of perspective both linear and color effect. Although a realist in his approach he understood what contributions the expressionists and impressionists had made and he admired their works. Sometimes, when he found that he could not finish a painting he would add another piece of paper onto his original, making more space to accomplish something he had in mind. At other times he would cut pieces out or bleach out colors he was not happy with. He worked and reworked things until alterations and studies were pointing him in the right direction. He was like an orchestra conductor, detailed, inspired, expectant and demanding. Of course, he demanded of himself. His pictures tell his story as well as that of mankind and we are the better for having them to see. Being an exceptionally gifted artist from his student days, his talent matured into adulthood resulting in astounding paintings and drawings of feeling and power crafted by his masterful technique.

These recollections were the result of my remembering the many vivid and lively discussions that I had with Nick Scalise in his studio and home in Meriden, CT.

We talked about his art, art history and life in general. He was a friend and example.

Mike Coleman, Artist

A Great Friend and a Fellow Artist

Nick and I became friends when we juried an art show at the Meriden Arts and Crafts. We instantly bonded because of our deep interest in art. After our work was done, we went for coffee and found we both entered a lot of art shows. Nick suggested that we, along with Jack Neff (another fellow artist), take turns delivering and picking up the paintings, thus saving a lot of time and gas. After a while, along with our wives, we enjoyed many dinners, art shows and theater. It was very sad that the good times ended too soon.

Nick is truly missed,
Richard Brzozoswski, AWS
Plainville, CT

The Best Student in the School

Art school is where I came to know Nick. He was an advanced student, and I was a first year art student. Over time I learned he was the best student in the school.

When my instructor wasn’t available I would seek out Nick for help. Nick was a born teacher and was always happy to help us beginners. Over time we discovered how much we had in common. This was the beginning of our life long friendship.

After graduation, we went our separate ways. Nick joined the Famous Artists School in Westport, CT. I worked for American Chain and Cable Company, Bridgeport, CT in the advertising department.

About a year later Nick called me about a job opening at the Famous Artists School for art instructors. At first I didn’t think I was qualified but Nick thought differently and got me to go for an interview. Thanks to Nick it was the best decision I ever made. Teaching by correspondence wasn’t easy, but Nick was always there to help me over the rough spots. We worked together for another 10 years.

Nick was planning someday to leave F.A.S. and devote full time to his (love) painting. He started on his dream by working only four days a week. I had similar ideas, but Nick’s courage made me think about it more seriously and years later I went to a four day work week. Over time I followed Nick and we both left FAS and became self-employed artists.

We visited each other’s studio often. I loved to bring my latest paintings for the “Master” to critique. He was always giving me new insights to picture making. I will always remember the day his critique about my latest work. He liked them very much and couldn’t find anything constructive to say but to congratulate me with a big smile and a slap on the back. I felt we were now equals.

I always thought of Nick being another Leonardo da Vinci, but I still give Nick’s work the edge.

Thanks again for all your help and friendship. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Frank Bly, Artist
Hardwick, MA

So Much Talent

“After all these years I still refer to it as “the class that God shined on”: Nick Scalise, Tom Nicholas, Warren Sattler, Bill Thomson, Siro Toffolon. So much talent!”

Reflection on Ernst’s Lohrmann’s Art Class (Nicholas Scalise’s first art teacher)

Bill Thomson, Artist
Windsor, CT

My Best Friend

I first met Nick at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. Sister Martha was our favorite teacher. We were the class artists. At Christmas time we had to draw a Nativity scene on the black boards. This is when we became very close.

After graduation from Mount Carmel, we went two ways. I started in Ernst Lohrmann’s class. He started later.

Our favorite pastime on Saturday night was going to the Aragon Ballroom in Manchester, Connecticut. One week I would borrow my father’s car, and the next week, he would get his brother’s car.

I remember he had to work for Bonazinga Bakery.

He later met Henrietta and I met Ellen Ann and we married. We always kept in touch. I remember I would take photos of his paintings before he sold them. His work was always great.

Nick was very close to God, his family and his work.

In Lohrmann’s classroom was a bronze plaque which read —




Nick was a great artist — one of the best.

Siro Toffolon, Designer Artist
Old Lyme, CT

Extraordinary Talent

I’ve known Nick Scalise for more than fifty years, going back to 1949 when we were students at the Horace C. Wilcox Technical School, Meriden, CT. We studied with a remarkable teacher, Ernst Lohrmann; a teacher that we remained indebted to throughout our professional careers.

Nick and I shared lives both socially and professionally. We were both in art galleries in Boston, MA, Washington, DC and San Diego, CA, encompassing more than forty years. We were instructors at the Famous Artist School, Westport, CT from the 1950s into the 1960s.

For all that knew Nick and his extraordinary talent, also knew his wife Henrietta, who is equally extraordinary, A perfect companion, sincere, supportive to Nick’s talent. To know them has been a great privilege.

Tom Nicholas, NA, AWS

That Wonderful Smile

I’m writing this on a Sunday and appropriately so, because it was on a Sunday that Nick and I first crossed paths. My home was about a mile away from Mount Carmel Church, which I attended each Sunday. After church I headed for Springdale Avenue and Bonazinga’s bakery. The bakery was about two blocks away from the church and was in back of a two-story house. It was at the end of a long driveway in a converted old garage! The smell of fresh baked bread filled the air!

Upon entering, you would see the oven and Mr. Bonazinga tending to the bread. I always bought two loaves, one of which was half eaten by the time I got home. Off to the side was this skinny kid, covered with flour. I didn’t know his name at the time.

I attended Lincoln Jr. High School and Tommie dePaola and myself were considered the top artists in the ninth grade. I learned about Wilcox Technical School and Mr. Lohrmann’s art class. I leaped at the chance to go there.

Coming from being the “Big fish in a small pond”, I entered Lohrmann’s class, headed for a big surprise. The first thing I saw was this tall, skinny kid drawing praying hands in charcoal! Oh, My! Now I have to start all over learning how to draw that well! That tall skinny kid was the same one who worked at the bakery.

Nick and I, Tom Nicholas, Bill Thomson, Siro Toffolon, Charlie Mays, and John Calabro became good friends. We named Nick “Norm” because he loved Norman Rockwell at the time.

After graduation, the Air Force and marriage, Nick and I found each other working at Famous Artists School in Westport, CT. We shared driving back and forth to Meriden, one week he drove, the next week it was my turn.

Nick and I had a lot in common. Both of us were raised by Italian mothers. Both loved art, both loved music and both loved laughter. Folk music was popular at the time and Nick and I would sing along. We had serious conversations, but one of us would always interrupt with a funny remark. I always think of Nick with that wonderful smile.

After leaving the Famous Artists School, Nick and I went our separate ways and didn’t come together again until many years later. Upon meeting each other, Nick stuck out his hand and said, “Is it your turn to drive, or is it mine?”

God Bless, You, My Pal!


Warren Sattler, Artist
Meriden, Connecticut

A Renaissance Man

“Nicholas P. Scalise is a Renaissance Man…He is really a full-time, dedicated, conscientious, creative and totally committed artist, whose inquisitive mind and fertile imagination continually weld the reactions of his heart and the images entering his eyes into some type of art product. He can no more stop creating than breathing. Surely, in a different age, he might very well have been taken under the wing of a patron like the Medici.”

Thomas F. Potter
Arts Reporter for the Meriden Record-Journal Newspaper
Article in Record-Journal, “Renaissance Man Exhibits in New Haven”, November 6, 1982

Outstanding Draftsmanship

“In a sense, all of Scalise’s work, from his landscapes to his seascapes to his cityscapes, are all portraits of a kind. They all have a narrative quality and a precision of detail that makes them both emotionally engaging and visually satisfying. Scalise’s outstanding draftsmanship is everywhere evident, but so is his ear, so to speak, the part of the artist that leans forward into humanity and listens to its minor chords…In all of these settings, whether rural or urban, domestic or foreign, the artist’s unvarnished empathy, shines through. It is not just his insight into people, but his ability to see the wistfulness of a maple tree unleashing its sap into a humble bucket, or cows lowing inside a barn, that make these works so affecting.”

Tracy O’Shaughnessy
Reporter for the Republican-American Newspaper, Waterbury, CT
Article in Republican-American Newspaper, “Scalise captures, elevates ordinary”
June 2, 2000

“An artist has to reach and not fear change. When you fear change, you’re in trouble.”

Nicholas Scalise