The Battalion Artist
The Battalion Artist

The Battalion Artist

A Navy Seabee's Sketchbook of War in the South Pacific, 1943–1945

Edited by Nancy Bellantoni, By Janice Blake, Illustrated by Natale Bellantoni


120 Pages, 11 x 9.5

Formats: Hardcover, ebook: PDF

Hardcover, $39.95 (US $39.95) (CA $53.95)

Publication Date: September 2019

ISBN 9780817922245

Price: $39.95


The Battalion Artist explores the three years, three months, and three days of Nat Bellantoni's life on the Pacific front in World War II. He had known since childhood that he wanted to be—that he in fact was—an artist. When he packed his seabag and took leave of his family and his sweetheart to go to war, he knew that the best way to manage the narrative of his life and to cope with the ups and downs of his feelings was to create images—visual records that spoke of what he felt, as well as what he saw. In this stunning book filled with authentic World War II images—many in full color—we see and feel the intensity of wartime life through the eyes of a talented young artist who was also a US Navy Seabee. Natale Bellantoni, a young art student from Boston, sailed across the Pacific in 1943–45 and returned home with a sea chest of art and photographs documenting his experiences in New Caledonia, New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, and Okinawa. His subject matter was his daily life: endless weeks at sea, harbors and ships, men at work, airstrips, the local countryside, and the view of enemy planes overhead at night from his fox hole. Now collected in a lavishly illustrated volume, his watercolors, sketches, and photographs offer a window onto one of the most significant moments in American history. The Battalion Artist explores the World War II experiences of Nat Bellantoni, but it reflects the story of an entire generation.

Author Biography

Nancy Bellantoni carefully searched her father's extensive South Pacific collection for visual materials that accurately reflect the context in which Natale Bellantoni's wartime art was created. She is a co-founder with her husband, Peter Galipault, of Movidea Inc., a design and marketing strategy firm in Boston.Janice Blake set aside her freelance work in order to focus on The Battalion Artist at the request of her friend and former colleague Natale Bellantoni. She has edited books for the Brazelton Institute and the Harvard Business School Press. She has also taught writing at the Harvard Business School.Natale Bellantoni was assigned to the US Navy's 78th Construction Battalion in the South Pacific during World War II before having a successful career as an art director in Boston.