Description

    MORT KÜNSTLER (American, b. 1931)
    Duty, Honor and Tears, (Long Branch, Millwood, Virginia, May 24, 1862), 2009
    Oil on canvas
    28-3/8 x 40 inches (72.1 x 101.6 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: © M Künstler 09

    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MORT KÜNSTLER

    EXHIBITED:
    Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York, "For Us the Living - The Civil War in Paintings by Mort Künstler," September 25, 2010-January 9, 2011;
    Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia, "Mort Künstler's Civil War Art: For Us the Living," March 29-September 4, 2011;
    VMI Museum, Lexington, Virginia, "For Us the Living - The Civil War in Paintings by Mort Künstler," February 10-June 1, 2012;
    Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, New Market, Virginia, "For Us the Living - The Civil War in Paintings by Mort Künstler," July 16-September 7, 2012;
    South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, South Carolina, "For Us the Living - The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler," October 5, 2012-April 7, 2013;
    The Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania, "Remembering the Battle of Gettysburg - The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler," April 26-July 28, 2013;
    North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, North Carolina, "For Us the Living - The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler," August 23, 2013-January 5, 2014;
    Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland, "For Us the Living - The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler," February 15-June 15, 2014.

    LITERATURE:
    Limited Edition Print, American Spirit Publishing, Oyster Bay, New York, 2009;
    J. Robertson, Jr., For Us the Living: The Civil War in Paintings and Eyewitness Accounts: The Art of Mort Künstler, New York, 2010, and 2012 p. 53, illustrated;
    M. Schoenner, "Applying Broad Strokes to a Time of War," New York Times, October 10, 2010, p 8.

    The beloved, nationally celebrated painter of Civil War subjects, Mort Künstler categorizes on his website Duty, Honor, and Tears (Long Branch, Millwood, VA, May 24, 1862) among his original masterworks. On this canonical list, one can find dramatic battles scenes and portraits of Union and Confederate officers, each captioned with his prodigious research. However, for Duty, Honor, and Tears, Künstler wanted to focus on a different angle of the War, specifically a grand historic residence and a romantic encounter. He writes:

    "The first time I saw Long Branch was about ten years ago. It is truly impressive. A second trip ... made me very excited about the potential for a painting using Long Branch as the background setting. I love incorporating buildings that are still standing today and are virtually unchanged from Civil War days....

    "Upon reading the book Long Branch, by Christopher R. Fordney, I then came to understand a great deal about the plantation house and the families who lived there.

    "I realized that I had not done a romantic scene since Brief Encounter in 2005 and decided to look for a situation that would incorporate both the Nelson family, who lived there during the War Between the States, and their magnificent mansion. I found a passage in the book that described how Captain Hugh Nelson came home for an overnight visit on May 23, 1862. His parting from Mrs. Nelson the following morning was the perfect situation for what I wanted to paint. After going through sketches, photos and a complete tour of the grounds I rushed home to Oyster Bay to get started on the painting.

    "I deliberately placed Captain Nelson and his beautiful wife in the shadows cast by the early morning sun so that the dark of the bonnet would contrast with the white of the door. This creates strong visual interest and draws the eye to Adelaide Holker Nelson. Her likeness is based on a portrait that exists and is pictured in Fordney's book. There is no known portrait of Hugh M. Nelson, Sr., so I based his likeness on the chance that his son, Hugh Nelson, Jr., bore a strong resemblance to his father. I was able to work with a photograph of the son that is also in the book. The time and the date of this farewell, early on May 24th, gave me the opportunity to paint bright morning sunlight with the brilliant color of azaleas as well as dogwoods in full bloom.

    "When the Nelsons parted on the morning of May 24th, there had to have been some tears. They would both go on to do their duty and preserve the family honor. There were many more tears a few months later. After the battle of Gaines Mill, Nelson fell ill, and died on August 6. The morning of May 24, 1862 was the last time they would see each other" (www.mort http://www.mort kunstler.com).



    Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Unlined canvas; painting appears to have no visible condition issues; not examined under UV light. Framed Dimensions 36 X 48 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    2nd Saturday
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