Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mort Künstler by Stephen Doherty 9

By the time Künstler reached junior high school, his interest
in sports began to consume all of his time and energy. “I got in
with a group of boys who spent all their free time playing ball,
and I followed along with them. I was still recognized in school
for my art abilities, but my interest was now focusing in more
and more on sports.”
Künstler entered Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn,
where he soon caught the attention of the school’s outstanding
art teacher, Leon Friend. A dedicated teacher and the
respected author of the classic book Graphic Design (McGraw-
Hill, 1936), Friend nurtured the careers of many of today’s
most successful designers, photographers, and graphic artists.
He certainly had a strong influence on young Mort
Künstler. “He was the first person besides my family and the
Grosses who really guided me in my art development,” says
Künstler. “He taught me skills in handling materials, gave me
an understanding of good design, introduced me to artists
and art concepts, and inspired me to be the best I could be.
For example, he introduced the Bauhaus School to me and
talked about its emphasis on simplified, functional design.
He spoke of the elements that make an effective poster design
(a lesson that helped many of his students win national poster
competitions), and he tried to get me away from thinking just
in terms of realistic images so that I could understand the
abstract principles in painting. He was really a remarkable

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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 2001-2019. 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.