Csatari Paints "The Higher Vision"

Joseph Csatari painting - "The Higher Vision"

The Higher Vision is an incredible Order of the Arrow themed original oil painting by Joseph Csatari. It is a powerful image depicting Uncas handing down the legend of Wimachtendienk in pictograph on a skin to a young Arrowman so that the Order will have the legend for posterity. The National OA Committee received the painting as a gift in October of 1963. The back-story of how the OA received this painting is as extraordinary as the painting itself.

Lee A. Ellison was an early member of Aquehongian Lodge, Staten Island Council, Greater New York Councils. Ellison served as Lodge Adviser from 1940 through 1957 in addition to serving as Scoutmaster of Staten Island Troop 43. While Ellison was beloved by the Arrowmen of his lodge, he actually performed a quiet and virtually unnoticed service for the Order. It was Ellison that personally researched the authentic Lenni Lenape pictograph symbols and he designed the symbolic legend. With Ellison’s assistance fellow lodge member (and Lodge Chief mentored by Ellison) Walter Vines created the original deerskin legend that is on display at William H. Pouch Scout Camp in Staten Island. The very same legend revealed in The Higher Vision.

When Lee Ellison passed away in 1961 his fellow Vigil Honor members wanted to find a way to remember their brother. The decision was made to commission a painting. They contacted OA National Secretary Martin Mockford who recommended artist Joseph Csatari. Csatari was a young artist of 32 at the time. He was a protégé of renowned BSA artist Norman Rockwell. Years before Csatari would become the official BSA artist, he painted The Higher Vision.

The Arrowmen in the painting is of a Scout from Ellison’s Troop 43 and a member of Aquehongian Lodge. He is wearing the lodge’s 25th Anniversary slide issued in 1963 and he is receiving Ellison’s designed legend.

The National OA Committee has recreated the enduring image of The Higher Vision as a porcelain figurine and as a bronze; the proceeds of which support the OA Endowment used for scholarships and High Adventure programs. In 2004 the design was used as the basis for the patch for the NOAC. The Higher Vision was the first Csatari painting owned by the Order of the Arrow and began a lifelong relationship.