Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mort Künstler by M. Stephen Doherty - Part 1

Mort Künstler is crouched in the middle of the floor of his
spacious library with his knees bent, both arms outstretched
as if clutching a pair of reins. His back is perfectly straight as
he yanks those imaginary leather straps. “As soon as I felt the
horse slipping off the trail into the deep snow, I got ready to
jump off in case she should fall on me. Sure enough,” Künstler
continues, as he rises from his crouched stance, “the horse
fell, but fought her way back onto her feet and pulled herself
back onto the trail. I stayed with her all the way and didn’t
bail out.” The person listening to this animated description is
not quite sure how it answers his question about the artist’s
working procedures, but at this point the question no longer
seems important.
“I figured, with all the deep snow along the trail, there wasn’t
much chance of her crushing me anyway,” Künstler goes on to
say. “We continued up the mountain until we reached a flat
spot. The guide jumped off his horse and ran over to ask me if
I was okay. He said he was amazed that I was able to stay with
the horse and didn’t panic. That evening, around the campfire,
he kept repeating how he couldn’t believe that an artist
from New York could handle himself so well on a horse. I told
him that if he knew how thoroughly I researched the subject
matter for my paintings he would understand how I had come
to know so much about horses.”
The story of Künstler’s trip over the Big Horn mountains
demonstrates just how far he will go to gather accurate information
for his paintings. It also shows the kind of enthusiasm
he has for his work. That penchant for accuracy is one of the
qualities that has attracted museums, corporations, and art
collectors to his paintings.
Künstler is in the enviable position of being successful and
well respected as both an illustrator and an exhibiting fine artist.
He is well known by publishers of books and magazines,
by art directors of advertising agencies, by all those who avail
themselves of the talents of illustrators. His art has appeared
on the covers of Newsweek and Sports Afield, in promotions
for various motion pictures, and in countless advertisements
and magazines. And since 1977, when his paintings were
first shown in major gallery and museum exhibitions, he has
received recognition as a fine artist.
To understand how Künstler achieved this enviable status,
one needs to trace the artist’s development from his earliest
experiences to his latest paintings, paying particular attention
to those who inspired and assisted in that development.
In so doing, one will gain an even greater appreciation for
Künstler’s extraordinary talent.

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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 2001-2017. 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.