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Billy the Kid's Last Christmas





About this Painting

This painting appeared in the December 1953 issue of SAGA magazine for the story Billy the Kid's Last Christmas by Homer Croy.

The Era of Men's Adventure

Beginning in the 1950s, Künstler’s illustrations were sought after by art directors of the leading magazines. Künstler’s captivating and sometimes provocative images adorned the covers of Stag, For Men Only, True Adventures, Male and True Action magazines. Magazine Management, the publisher of these magazines, asked Künstler to use pseudonyms because he was doing so much work for them. Two of the pseudonyms he used were Martin Kay and Emmett Kaye – a play on his initials “MK”. These illustrations have become emblematic of the pop culture of that era.

From Men’s Adventure Magazines in Postwar America
(Max Allan Collins and George Hagenauer, Taschen GMBH, 2004, p. 500)

“Künstler was at the top of the game in the genre, putting incredible detail and accurate descriptions of uniforms, weapons, and settings into his paintings, even when illustrating the likes of “The G.I. Who Raided Saigon Sally’s Sin Barracks.”

“His art has appeared in major magazines, such as National Geographic. The Saturday Evening Post, and Newsweek, and his commercial oeuvre also includes film posters and advertising work. He is now considered to be one of the premiere fine artists in the U.S painting historical objects.”


The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts opened a major retrospective exhibit of Künstler’s art in November 2014, including many of his Men’s Adventure art. Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure, had over 80 pieces from early childhood through his most recent works. This traveling exhibit went to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, the Citadelle Art Foundation in Canadian, Texas, and the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, New York.

Date Created: 1953

Medium: Gouache

Image Size: 16-1/2" x 26"

 

 
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 © 2001-2018. 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.