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The Art of Mort Künstler / Limited Edition Prints / Civil War Prints

Few artists have developed a following as devoted as Mort Künstler's. His work has been among the most collected in American history. Here you will find a comprehensive index of Mort Künstler's Limited Edition Prints including his Civil War Prints, and more.



It's All My Fault
Gettysburg, July 3, 1863




Image Size: 15 1/4" x 28 1/2".
Overall Size: 20" x 32 3/4".
950 Limited Edition Numbered and Signed.
50 Artist Proofs Numbered and Signed.

The idea for this painting of Lee at Gettysburg was conceived as a natural sequel for the first painting I did for the American Print Gallery, titled The High Water Mark. The Confederates, after having been repulsed in one of the most daring charges in the history of warfare, started straggling back to their lines where Lee met them. The casualties were enormous and it is the pathos and tragedy of that moment that I have tried to capture with this painting.

Robert E. Lee, on Traveller, along with his aide, Lt. Colonel Charles Marshall, have ridden out to the first line of artillery. It is here where he spoke to his men and blamed himself for the defeat.

I went to Gettysburg once again to research the painting, although I had been there many times before. Standing on the exact spot where this occurred was truly a thrill. The artillery piece in the right foreground of the painting is a ten-pound Parrott and can be found at that location on the battlefield.

I was able to learn that Lee did not have his sword on but did wear a sword belt. The rest of his uniform, and that of Marshall, is based on information I found at Gettysburg and in contemporary accounts. Traveller is based on contemporary photographs as are the likeness of Lee and Marshall. Marshall's likeness was much more difficult because there are no profile photographs of him.

To the rear and extreme right of the painting, are three artillerymen with traditional red trim on their uniforms. The private in the foreground holds an artillery guidon. Their expressions reflect the defeat which has become obvious to everyone.

The time is approximately 4:00 p.m. The sun has disappeared because of an incoming storm. With the smoke from the fire of the Spangler barn which was burning all day, and the dust kicked up by the men with horses, the lighting effect would have been about the way I pictured it. The wind was from the west, or right of the painting.

I learned about the uniforms and weaponry while painting The High Water Mark. The N.C. buckle on the butternut soldier helping a wounded and tattered comrade in the left foreground indicates that he is a North Carolinian. Further back on the left are two mounted officers, both wounded. There were only about six mounted officers in the original assault and one of the riderless horses is seen further to the center of the background. A Virginia regiment's flag is prominent among the few battle flags that were not captured. The rest of the soldiers are struggling and helping each other back to their lines.

I hope this painting brings to life one of the most poignant moments in Confederate history.



 

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