Born in 1923, Arthur Day grew up in suburban New Jersey. He attended Syracuse University before serving as a Navy pilot from 1943 to 1945. After World War II and obtaining a masters degree in international relations at the University of Chicago, he was appointed in 1950 to the U.S. Foreign Service. He served for the next 27 years at posts abroad and in Washington, including assignments as Deputy Chief of Mission in Berlin. Consul General in Jerusalem, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He retired in 1977 to become Vice President of the United Nations Association in New York. In 1985 he left the Association to write a book on the Kingdom of Jordan (East Bank/West Bank: Jordan and the Prospects for Peace) for the Council on Foreign Relations and then to devote himself full-time to painting.
Beginning in that year, he studied oil and watercolor painting at the Art Students League of New York. His watercolors and oils have won numerous awards including several firsts in Cape Code shows. His paintings are found in many private, institutional and corporate collections, including that of the Cape Museum of Fine Arts.
Now a resident of Washington, D.C., he divides his time between that city and Cape Cod. He paints subjects that attract him in both places as well as city and industrial scenes in and around New York City. He is interested in patterns of dark and light created by scenes of everyday life: city buildings, industrial plants, toll booths on the Highway, New England houses, and commercial buildings. He tries to convey with his painting the excitement of these patterns while at the same time expressing some of the essence of the subjects themselves.