Stay tuned to The Posterity Project to find out which one of his many paintings was selected for our cover. In the meantime, here's a brief biography of this great American artist, who Dr. James I. Robertson Jr., noted scholar on the American Civil War and professor of history at Virginia Tech, described as "the foremost Civil War artist of our time."...
He's the premier historical artist in America - and now he focuses mainly on the American Civil War. When Mort Künstler began his current emphasis on Civil War art in the early 1980s, he had already accomplished more than a half-dozen artists could hope to accomplish in a collective lifetime. From portraits of prehistoric American life to the odyssey of the space shuttle, Mort Künstler had painted America's story - and was already renowned as "the premier historical artist in America." When he placed his focus on Civil War art, Mr. Künstler quickly established himself as the country's most-collected Civil War artist, and earned unprecedented acclaim within the genre of Civil War art.
Mr. Künstler's talent and training were nurtured from an early age. After studying art at Brooklyn College, U.C.L.A. and Pratt Institute, he became a successful illustrator in New York where he received assignments from book and magazine publishers. An important part of his training resulted from his affiliation with National Geographic Magazine. It was through their assignments of historical subject matter that he learned the value of working with historians so that accuracy was firmly imbued into his concept.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Künstler's paintings began attracting the attention of serious art collectors. At first the interest was mainly in his Western subject matter, but after a major museum retrospective exhibition and a one-man show at the prestigious Hammer Galleries in New York City, he became known as an important painter of historic subjects. Since his first show in 1977, Mr. Künstler has had thirteen more highly successful one-man shows at Hammer Galleries, his most recent in December 2006.
In 1982, a commission from CBS-TV to do a painting for the mini-series, The Blue and the Gray directed Mr. Künstler'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. Since then, Mr. Künstler has been concentrating on Civil War subject matter.
Visit MortKünstler.com to find out more about "America's artist," Mort Künstler.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Traci Nichols-Belt is the author of Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War, published by The History Press. Traci holds a Master's degree in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Anderson University. Her principal research interest is the Civil War, with a particular focus on the impact of religion on the military. Traci has appeared on radio and television to speak about the role of religion in the Civil War, and she has had her writings published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and in The New York Times Civil War blog, Disunion.