If an artist’s life reflected what they put down on canvas, you might assume Mort Künstler has lived one fascinating adventure. Known today for his meticulously researched historical paintings of such subjects as the Civil War, Künstler is also a prolific illustrator, who has worked on a broad spectrum of assignments in different genres for over 50 years. This fall, Norman Rockwell Museum will debut the latest in its Distinguished Illustrator Series—an exhibition that explores Künstler’s vast and highly-regarded body of work as an illustrator and historical painter—”Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure” will be on view at the Museum from November 8, 2014 through March 8, 2015.
“Illustrators are our nation’s visual historians,” notes Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “One of the leading figures in the field, Mort Künstler’s art honors that tradition, and vividly brings America’s history to life. From dynamic renderings of the American Civil War to sensational pulp fiction—his art has shared America’s history and sense of adventure with generations of readers and fans.”
“Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure” presents the first thorough retrospective of the artist’s career—from paperback book jackets and men’s adventure magazine illustrations, to movie posters, model kit boxes, and advertisements for prominent corporations. Künstler’s dramatic images, conceived in every possible genre, will be the focus of the exhibition. His romance, war, and sporting illustrations for “True,” “Argosy,” “The Saturday Evening Post,” “Sports Afield,” “Outdoor Life,” “American Weekly,” “Men’s Story” among others, and his contemporary historical paintings that capture the heroes and battles of the American Civil War, will be on view. The exhibition will document the artist’s transition from traditional illustrator to historical narrative painter, whose limited edition signed prints have attracted a large and appreciative audience. Künstler’s artistic influences, which include Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, N.C. Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell, will be explored and represented in the exhibition, as well as childhood drawings that chart the development of his considerable artistic skills.
“As an art student in the 1940s, I idolized Norman Rockwell,” recalls Künstler. “I never had the good fortune to meet him, but I did have several phone conversations with him and some correspondence. I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum regularly, even before the present building, when it was known as the Old Corner House in the village of Stockbridge. To have a retrospective show of my works in a museum setting is great; to have it at the Norman Rockwell Museum is truly overwhelming.”
Image credit: Mort Künstler, “Rendezvous with Destiny.” ©Mort Künstler. All rights reserved.