Nat Mayer Shapiro was born in New York City in 1919 and spent his childhood and adolescence in Brooklyn. He was 10 when he decided he would be an artist and started attending the after-school programs at Pratt Institute. Inducted in the army in 1941, he was sent with the Medical Corps to Australia and New Guinea where he spent most of his four years and half of military life. Upon his return to the States, he spent eight months in the R&R (Rest & Rehabilitation) Center in Lake Placid, NY, where he was finally able to work as an artist, painting stage sets, portraits and landscapes.
In 1945, the War Department acquired some of Nat’s artwork for the then-planned War Museum. Back into civilian life, Nat worked as a commercial artist while attending classes at the Art Students League in New York City.
In 1951, married and father of two children, he moved to Chicago where he started discovering himself as a fine artist. An adventurous personality, curious of other worlds, of other cultures, and of other artistic trends, he moved with his family to Europe and settled in France. Surrounded by a historical cultural heritage, by magnificent architecture, by old and contemporary works of art, Nat’s artistic creation blossomed out. He tried different media, different techniques, different artistic outlets; the result was a variety of mature, original, sometimes powerful, sometimes whimsical works.
His various trips were of great influence and inspiration: the vaults of Byzantine churches, the mosaics of Ravenna, a Moroccan holy city. Nat had several exhibits while in France: Paris, Asnières, Marly-le-Roy, Auch. The French Ministry of Culture bought two of his works: a painting, Pandora’s Box, now hanging in the French Embassy in Oslo and The Wall, a very large, beautiful sculpture.
In 1985, Nat returned to New York to reconnect with his roots and his past. He settled in Westchester and joined a group of artists who wanted to open a cooperative gallery. He was instrumental in locating, setting up and launching the new gallery, even found a great name for it: Upstream. When the gallery had to close, Nat persisted in regrouping the artists, in looking for a new space, in ascertaining that the new gallery would be a high-quality meeting of the arts. He was its president and an inspiration to his fellow members from 1995 to 2002.
Nat Shapiro passed away in December 2005.
Sunset on Madison banner was chosen in "CELEBRATE ART | IN HASTINGS - 2008," to appear as one of the designs for banners hung on the light poles throughout the Village of Hastings, from mid May - September.
British composer Mark Wingfield has dedicated his new CD Three Windows (with Jane Chapman and Iain Ballamy, due for release in 2008) "to the memory of New York artist Nat Mayer Shapiro." The first piece on the CD is titled Kites, after a series by Nat Mayer Shapiro.