One of the world’s most renowned artists has bade farewell.
Princess Diana of Wales, William Jefferson Clinton, and Pope John Paul II are only a few of the esteemed clients who sought the talents of celebrated artist Nelson Shanks (1937-2015). It was with heavy hearts that the world learned of his passing last Friday, August 28, at the age of 77. Shanks was — in addition to his artistry — a recognized art historian, teacher, connoisseur, and collector of fine arts.
At 18, Shanks began his tenure at New York’s famed Art Students League, where he caught the eye of John Koch, who took on the young artist as a private student, mentoring and encouraging him. Earning quick success with his immense talent and dedication, Shanks studied in Florence with Pietro Annigoni at the Accademia de Belle Arti before teaching himself in Memphis, Chicago, and Pennsylvania for nearly three decades.
As noted on the artist’s website, “Shanks’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Kensington Palace in London, and Fortezza Firmafede in Sarzana, Italy. During the summer and fall of 2011, he had solo exhibitions in Russia at the Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, and the Russian Academy of Art, Moscow.”
All of us at Fine Art Connoisseur send our heartfelt condolences to Nelson’s wife, Leona Shanks, and all their friends and family.
To learn more, visit here.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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