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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / The Civil War

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.



Pickett's Charge - limited edition print
Gettysburg, July 3, 1863


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Paper Artist's Proof - $350.00

Signature Edition Canvas Artist's Proof - $0.00
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Classic Edition Canvas Artist's Proof - $0.00
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Premier Canvas Signed Artist's Proof, Unstretched - $0.00
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Collector's Canvas Artist's Proof, Unstretched - $0.00
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The Premier and Collector's editions ship unstretched. Stretching option is available at an additional charge.
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A TRIBUTE TO THE LEGEND SERIES II/VIII

LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

Paper Prints
Reproduction technique: Fine offset lithography on neutral pH archival quality paper using the finest fade-resistant inks.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.


Image Size: 14-1/2" x 29” • Overall Size: 19-1/2” x 33"
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 350
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 50

Giclée Canvas Prints
Reproduction technique: Giclées are printed with the finest archival pigmented inks on canvas.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.


Signature Edition 14" x 28”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Classic Edition 17" x 34"
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Premier Edition 22" x 44"
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 15
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 5

Collector's Edition 29" x 58"
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 5
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 2



Historical Information:

As one of the most decisive engagements in one of the most renowned battles, the tragic assault known as Pickett’s Charge, still resonates 150 years later. After several unsuccessful attempts to envelop Federal forces by striking the Union left flank at the Peach Orchard, Wheatfield, Devil’s Den and the Round Tops and then attacking the Union right flank at Culp’s and East Cemetery Hill, General Robert E. Lee concentrated his remaining strength of artillery and infantry at the center of the Union lines.

Despite the initial hesitation from his senior commander, Lt. General James Longstreet, Lee remained steadfast in his tactical plan, which called for nearly 12,000 men (nine brigades) to march over 1,000 yards across open ground. His confidence in the infantry’s ability to reach the enemy was bolstered by the plan to precede the initial charge with a concentrated cannonade focused at the Union center. Although Longstreet’s corps artillery chief, Colonel Edward Porter Alexander, had effective command of the field, there was an insufficient concentration of Confederate fire on the objective.

The brunt of the assault was borne by the infantry troops, who were required to march into the oncoming fray of Federal artillery and musket fire with virtually no available cover. Ironically, the term “charge” used to describe the attack is an overstatement, as the rebel troops marched deliberately in a line across the open plain, accelerating only when they were within a few hundred yards of the enemy. This line consisted of troops under the commands of Major General Isaac R. Trimble, Major General George E. Pickett and Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew and it stretched out for more than a mile. The majority would never reach their intended target, a copse of trees defended by troops under the command of General Winfield S. Hancock.

Prior to the assault, General Pickett gallantly addressed his troops as they waited in the hot July sun, lined up in ranks along the tree line adjacent to the field. Despite the arduous task that lay before him, Pickett appeared to be in very high spirits and his confidence was infectious. Riding up and down the line, he shouted to his men that they were all Virginians and to remember what they were fighting for. With that encouragement, Pickett’s men courageously stepped off into what would become one of the most fateful engagements in American military history. Suffering incredible losses, more than half of Pickett’s division was killed, wounded, or captured, including all three of his brigadier generals.

The following day, Lee began to withdraw and to move his army south toward the Potomac River, thus concluding the Battle of Gettysburg. The procession of wounded and receding troops stretched out for more than fourteen miles. Many Southerners later came to believe that Pickett’s Charge represented the “High Water Mark” of Confederate hopes for independence.

Text by Michael Aubrecht



Mort Künstler’s Comments:

With the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg coming up this July, I began to think about doing a new painting commemorating that famous event. In reviewing all the previous paintings and drawings that I have done (more than twenty of Pickett’s Charge alone) I realized that I had never done a full painting and print of Pickett’s Charge with General Pickett in the scene. I had recorded the charge from its beginning to the end, but always with General Lewis Armistead leading.

There was a sketch of Pickett with the troops that I did for the book Gettysburg. As the official artist for the movie Gettysburg produced by Ron Maxwell for Ted Turner, I was asked by Turner to create as many pictures as I could within a limited time, to illustrate the book that would be a companion to the major motion picture. The new sketches that I developed, combined with existing art that I had done, resulted in more than sixty works for this project. Turner published the book in 1993 simultaneously with the grand opening of the movie at the National Theatre in Washington, D. C.

I also noted that it was the twentieth anniversary of the movie and the book. I knew then that I would show Pickett in front of the troops on horseback before the charge, using my sketch of twenty years ago as my inspiration. I have done that with a number of sketches from that book. That is how Chamberlain’s Charge, “Follow Me, Boys!” and “On They Came with Flags Flying!” were born.

For preparation, I went back through my files and all of my original notes, sketches, and photos, and you can now see how a painting develops. This gives you some idea of the process I go through on each and every painting.

Knowing the tragedy that would later befall the majority of the men depicted in this painting, it is my hope that I captured the courage and conviction of them all, as well as the enthusiasm of their fervent commander. Pickett’s Charge represents both the triumph and tragedy of war that was experienced on both sides. The Confederate forces suffered an incredible defeat, while their counterparts achieved a victory that echoed the disaster they had suffered themselves just a few months before in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

 

 
All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, 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.