Mort Kunstler


(source: Wikipedia)

Mort Kunstler is an American artist known for his illustrative paintings of the American Civil War. His works are primarily sold as mass-produced printed reproductions. He is also known for earlier commercial illustration before turning to Civil War themes in the early 1980s, a body of work that dealt with America's national story: from portraits of prehistoric American life to the odyssey of the space shuttle. His work has also been published in illustrated books and magazines and used by advertising agencies.


Kunstler studied art at Brooklyn College, U.C.L.A. and Pratt Institute. After graduating he worked as a freelance artist in New York, where he received assignments from book and magazine publishers. In 1953, he supplied painted covers for several Classics Illustrated titles, including Pitcairn's Island and A Study in Scarlet. He drew covers and other art for paperback books and men's adventure magazines. Kunstler completed at least three cover illustrations and two inside illustrations every month, for MagazineManagement alone. During this time he published under at least two pen names, Martin Kay and Emmett Kaye. Kunstler said "The editors didn't want it to look like one person was doing all the art." He also did art for Aurora model kit boxes, such as the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima kit. He used the alias "Mutz" to draw back covers for issues of Mad Magazine, and did posters for movies such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

In 1982, a commission from CBS-TV to do a painting for the mini-series The Blue and the Gray directed Mr. Kunstler's interest towards the Civil War. Although the research was painstaking, he devoted much time to making sure that his painting The High Water Mark was meticulously correct. The painting was unveiled at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum on July 2, 1988 in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the battle.

In 1992 the U.S. Postal Service commissioned Mr. Kunstler to do a painting of the Buffalo Soldiers. The stamp was issued in April 1994.

In Virginia, Governor James Gilmore officially declared a "Mort Kunstler Day" in 1999, and in 2000, Governor Gilmore officially opened an exhibition at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond called The Confederate Spirit: The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, which was the first one-man exhibition of a contemporary artist ever held at the museum. Later that year, a book by the same name was published by Rutledge Hill Press with a narrative by James I. Robertson, Jr. In a similar ceremony north of the Mason-Dixon line in Ohio, Mr. Kunstler was selected as the Official Artist of the Ohio State Bicentennial, and his painting of General John Hunt Morgan's raid through Ohio was featured in a long-term exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

In 2001, Mr. Kunstler was named the official artist for the motion picture Gods and Generals, and in 2002 Greenwich Workshop Press published his newest book: Gods and Generals: The Paintings of Mort Kunstler. He also served as a consultant for the heralded Ron Maxwell motion picture, Gods and Generals, and his art publisher, American Spirit Publishing, released a series of historical Civil War limited edition prints of key historical events on which the motion picture was based. In 2002, Mr. Kunstler became the first artist to be honored by a 6-month one-man exhibition at the new National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2003, he received the Jefferson Davis Southern Heritage Award from the Military Order of the Stars and Bars - composed of descendants of the Southern officer corps - which followed his 2001 receipt of the Henry Timrod Southern Culture Award by the M.O.S.B.

Mr. Kunstler has also been named as an Official Artist for the H.L. Hunley, and unveiled a new painting of the H.L. Hunley during ceremonies in Charleston, South Carolina on April 17-18, 2004. He has also been commissioned to design and furnish all the artwork for the Middletown, Ohio Veterans Memorial, which was unveiled on July 4, 2004.

In 2010 the Nassau County Museum of Art held their third exhibit of Kunstler's Civil War paintings in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. For Us the Living - The Civil War in Paintings by Mort Kunstler consisted of approximately 50 paintings accompanied by a selection of documentary objects. Visitors to a Kunstler exhibition gained an inside look into the artist's creative process through a display of his sketches, drawings, and preliminary studies.

Mr. Kunstler was commissioned to paint an accurate depiction of Washington crossing the Delaware. Washington's Crossing was unveiled at the New-York Historical Society on December 26, 2011 - the 235th anniversary of the actual event.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a collection of over thirty original Civil War paintings by Kunstler have been on exhibit at various museums. This traveling exhibit started in February 2012 at the VMI Museum in Lexington, Virginia and continued on to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historic Park and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina. During 2013 the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania will host the exhibit, followed by the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina. The traveling exhibit will conclude at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland in 2014.

On September 13, 2012, the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC hosted "An Evening with Mort Kunstler." Mr. Kunstler discussed pivotal moments in his career with Laurie Norton Moffat, Executive Director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, accompanied by a slide show of his works.

Mr. Kunstler will be the sixth artist honored by the Booth Western Art Museum of Cartersville, Georgia with their Lifetime Achievement Award on February 15, 2014. He will join Howard Terpning, G. Harvey, Ken Riley, Fred Fellow, and Glenna Goodacre as the only honorees in the history of the award.

(end source: Wikipedia)

Mort Kunstler and Impressions' Civil War Generals series

Several of Mort Kunstler's paintings were used as background in the Civil War General series by Impressions.

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Civil War Generals 2: Grant, Lee, Sherman (1997-01-01)

Civil War Paintings
Civil War General: Robert E. Lee (1996-01-01)

Credit Stills