Friday, February 27, 2015

The Making of a Masterpiece: Respect of an Army Phase 1

“My all-time favorite Civil War painting is the surrender scene painted for National Geographic in the April 1965 issue (pp. 464-465.) It shows Robert E. Lee signing the peace treaty in the parlor of the McLean House. The compassion and respect of General Grant and the Union officers in the room is apparent and very moving. What makes the painting even better are the likenesses of all the characters in the scene. This is an incredibly difficult chore for an artist, and my late friend Tom Lovell (1909-1997) made the painting a tour de force for his talents. 
"I’ve known for some time that I would do the surrender scene for the 150th Anniversary of Appomattox. The problem was I did not know what I would paint. I always like to do something that no one else has done, and Appomattox has been painted thousands of times by hundreds of artists. Added to that was the fact that I had already done two paintings of the subject and I certainly was not going to attempt to do the same scene that my friend and idol had done so masterfully. I had already painted Lee riding back through Confederate lines on April 9 after the signing – Lovell’s painting is the actual signing. That left the time when Lee departed the McLean House and passed through the lines."
– Mort Künstler
Here are the initial preliminary sketches Mort drew for Respect of an Army. When you see the finished painting, you’ll be able to see whether or not the final painting is much different from his first sketches.

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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.