Friday, April 8, 2016

Upcoming Art Auction: 8 Original Illustrations for Sale!

Eight vintage paintings from the '50s and '60s – Mort's most prolific period creating covers and interior illustrations for popular men's adventure magazines – will be coming up for auction this month.

"Kunstler was at the top of the game in his genre, putting incredible detail and accurate descriptions of uniforms, weapons, and settings into his paintings...Beginning in 1954, he created hundreds of Magazine Management's best-painted covers. His art has appeared in major magazines, such as National Geographic. The Saturday Evening Post, and Newsweek, and his commercial oeuvre also includes film posters and advertising work."
              – Max Allan Collins and George Hagenauer, Men's Adventure Magazines in Postwar America:                      The Rich Oberg Collection, Köln: Taschen GMBH, 2004, p. 500.

The Night the Mob took Over Thrill Park  by Mort Künstler

The Night the Mob Took Over Thrill Park
For Men Only magazine cover, November 1967
Gouache on board
11.5 x 16.625 in. (sight)
Signed lower right
Lot #71109

For Men Only magazine cover, November 1967

The Nude Decoy by Mort Künstler

The Nude Decoy, 1958
Gouache on board
16-1/2 x 18-7/8 inches (unframed)
25-1/2 x 28 inches (framed)
Signed and dated lower left: MKünstler
Lot #71110

The Nude Decoy, Stag Magazine interior illustration, 1958

This painting was used multiple times as double page illustrations for stories in Stag and Sportsman magazines. "My wife Deborah was the model for this illustration done in the 50s. She was pregnant at the time and looked terrific. She still looks great even when she's not pregnant!" - Mort Kunstler

Sexy Trap, Stag or Male magazine illustration, 1968
Gouache on board
15.25 x 23 in. (sight)
signed and inscribed lower right
Click here for more information or to place an online bid.

Escape From the Tanker  by Mort Künstler

Escape from the Tanker
Gouache on board
15.75 x 18 in. (sight)
Signed lower right
Lot #71112

The Kill-Crazy Life of John Dillinger  by Mort Künstler

The Kill-Crazy Life of John Dillinger, Stag magazine cover, 1968
Gouache on board
19.125 x 14.75 in. (sight)
signed lower right
Lot #71113

Stag Magazine Cover, 1968

The Sinking of Yamato, Stag magazine cover, November 1964
Gouache on board
19.25 x 14.5 in. (sight)
Signed and dated '63' lower right
Lot #71114

Hanging by a Thread  by Mort Künstler

Hanging by a Thread, American Weekly magazine illustration, 1957
Gouache on board
12.5 x 24in. (sight)
Signed lower right
Lot #71115

  Arctic Ordeal, Sports Afield magazine illustration, circa 1959
Gouache on board
19 x 15.75 in.
Initaled lower right

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Upcoming: Scottsdale Art Auction

Two original Mort Künstler paintings are up for auction at the Scottsdale Art Auction,
Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 9:30 PT
Online bidding is available. Click here for more information

Gunsmoke in Nevada by Mort Künstler

Lot 110 • Oil on Board • 19 x 17.5 inches • Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500

Gunfight Illustration by Mort Künstler (Click Here for Auction Page)

"This painting was used for many paperback book covers. The first was Avon books. The art director at Avon, Barbara Bertoli, gave me free reign with the covers. For this painting and others, I did research Old Tucson, a recreated western town. I think this painting is one of my better action pictures." -Mort Kunstler

Frank O'Rourke's Violence at Sundown

This painting was used on the 1963 Avon paperback book cover Gunsmoke in Nevada by Burt Arthur. In 1987 it was used as the pocketbook paperback book cover illustration for Frank O'Rourke's Violence at Sundown - a copy of which will accompany this lot.

B-24 From Naples Missing...Crew Presumed Dead by Mort Künstler

Lot 109 • Gouache on board 19 x 15.5 inches •  Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500

Desert Crash Illustration (Click Here for Auction Page)

"This was the only magazine cover I posed for - I am the pilot on the far right. My good friend and artist James Bama is the pilot on the far left, wiping his brow. Jimmy has become well known for Western art." - Mort Kunstler

Stag Magazine, December 1959, Cover Illustration

This was painting was done for the December 1959 issue of Stag magazine to illustrate a story entitled B-24 From Naples Missing...Crew Presumed Dead by Tom Perkins. A copy of this magazine will accompany this lot.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure now open! (Meet the Artist too!)

Date: February 26, 2016 - May 30, 2016
Address: The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages
1200 Route 25A
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Telephone: 631-751-0066

Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure, a major retrospective exhibit of Mort's paintings starting with childhood art through to his most recent paintings, will be on display at The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages from February 26, 2016 thru May 30, 2016. The Long Island Museum is in Stony Brook, about an hour away from Mort's hometown of Oyster Bay. He's visited the museum several times to research their large collection of carriages. Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge Massachusetts.

In addition to this Exhibition, an additional program will be taking place at the museum: 

Date: Friday, March 18, 2016 from 5:00-7:00pm
Event: Alive@five: An Evening with Mort Künstler
Admission: $15
When the sun goes down and the lights are low, what goes on at the museum? Join us for drinks, light refreshments, and a special program to find out! Mort Künstler, internationally-acclaimed artist, illustrator, and native Long Islander will speak about his artistic process when creating the meticulously researched paintings of the American Civil War, historical subjects, and illustrations. Following his presentation, Mort will lead an informative, engaging tour of the exhibition Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure. 

Norman Rockwell Museum Presents: Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure

For more information, visit the Long Island Museum of American Art Website

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Beauty of the Blizzard of 1996

Deborah Künstler, Mort's wife, was a freelance writer and was frequently published in Newsday. Back in the winter of 1996, Long Island was hit with a blizzard.  Here is the article published in Newsday on February 1, 1996 documenting how Mort channeled his creativity and huge amount of energy – by building an igloo to beat all igloos!

The Beauty of the Blizzard
By Deborah A. Künstler

Who can forget the winter of ’93-’94? The miracle of nature was no longer a miracle; it was a nightmare.

By the time the eighth or ninth storm hit, our 9-year-old grandson, Tommy, was tired of playing video games, and sledding had lost its allure.  I’m not the outdoor type, but, fortunately, my artist-husband, Mort, is.  So he laid down his paint brushes, took Tommy outside and decided to build an igloo.

After calling upon our architect son-in-law, Cliff, for structural advice, the two of them and Tommy started their project. Once completed, the ’94 igloo was fun for a starter house but rather small. It was just big enough for Mort, Tommy and one friend at a time to cook cocktail franks over a can of sterno.

In ’95, we had only one major storm, but that didn’t deter Mort and Tommy, who built an even larger igloo. More experienced by then, we celebrated the winter with brunch for five, complete with bagels, lox and coffee.

When the blizzard of ’96 struck, it was bad news for lots of people but not for my husband. “This is fabulous,” Mort said to Cliff on the phone. “We’ll make the greatest igloo ever seen south of Alaska.”

The streets were vehicle-free for good reason; even those with four-wheel-drive cars knew enough to stay home. But Mort, unstoppable in our ’79 Bronco, drove it, plow and all, to Cliff’s studio, dragged him away from his drawing board, and chauffeured him back to our house.

Then he went to work with the plow, piling a huge mound of snow near the kitchen door. Dressed in ski clothes, the two men started shoveling. Our son, David, was home along with everyone else on the East Coast, so he and Tommy joined in the dig.
Scooping out an igloo is hard work. While one person is inside digging, someone else has to shovel the loose snow away from the entrance. (A word of warning: this can be dangerous work and it is necessary to have an adult around at all times. Do not try to build an igloo of this magnitude without having architectural advice on how thick the walls need to be to prevent a cave-in.)

By the time they were finished (about 16 hours of digging, in Mort’s estimation) this year’s effort had become a veritable snow mansion – the walls and roof were about 18 inches thick. Inside, the ceiling rose to more than 6 feet and it was 11 feet in diameter. A plastic plumbing pipe jammed through the roof serves as a chimney.

Such a structure could not be left unadorned, so the next day, Mort and I went to work on decorating the interior. In the kitchen area, we scooped out holes in the wall for wine bottles and soft drinks, and built a shelf for dishes, napkins and glassware. Silverware was stuck horizontally into the icy walls and hooks held our cooking utensils. We brought in a round patio table and surrounded it with four folding chairs. We placed an old fondue pot, from early in our marriage, on the table for cooking. Built-in wooden ledges around the perimeter of the igloo were covered with carpeting samples to serve as additional seating.

We scooped out four niches in the walls for candles and installed a shelf for a basket of dried flowers. On the wall, we hung a framed print of a ship from Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White fleet, in tribute to our community. While not exactly warm inside, we were able to sit with coats on but without hats, gloves or scarves.

Ready to entertain in grand style, we started scheduling dinner parties. We had dinner for seven with friends and their two young sons. We had lunch with our daughter Jane, Cliff, David and Tommy and his friends. Then people started calling us. The word was out. Everyone wanted to see the igloo. A teacher friend suggested scheduling it for a field trip. Schools and offices were open again, so we limited parties to weekends. Our menu became routine: shrimp, chicken noodle soup served in mugs, cocktail franks, smores and hot chocolate. For grown-ups, there was wine and beer; for the younger set, apple cider and soda.  Needless to say, there was no shortage of ice.

Of course, the downside of igloo building is similar to that of building castles in the sand. They tend to be short-lived. Our igloo didn’t make it through the Jan. 19 rainstorm.  And Mort swears it will be his last. “I’m going to do my best to prevent myself from doing it again,” he said last week.

But the men in my family have igloo-building down to a science now, so by the time the next big snow rolls around, he may be singing a different tune. I wonder if we could put a hot tub in one. ~ 

All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Knstler, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright 2001-2011. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.