Art Showcase

If you experience any problems placing your order online, please call 800-850-1776 to order by phone.

The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / A New Nation

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.

Robert Fulton's Clermont
August 17, 1807
This painting is available for sale. If you would like pricing or more information regarding the purchase of an original painting, please contact us at or 800-850-1776.

Historical Information
It was the English who invented the first steam engine and the first steam railroad but it was an American, Robert Fulton, who, in 1807, formally launched the steamboat era. Fulton was not the inventor, however, of the steamboat: that distinction belongs to poor John Fitch, a Connecticut Yankee and a veteran of the Continental Army who, as early as 1787, built and launched a forty-five-foot steamboat, which, in August of that year, paraded up and down the Delaware River. But, alas, nothing came of that brave experiment. Fitch could get no financing for his invention and in the end gave up in despair and fled to the wilds of Kentucky where he died.

Ten years later, the New York lawyer and diplomat, Robert Livingston, anticipating the role that steamboats might play in a vast nation whose only effective transportation was by water, persuaded his young friend Robert Fulton, with whose artistic and inventive talents he was familiar, to try his hand at building a steamboat. An artist by instinct and by training, Fulton boasted a natural talent for engineering. He eagerly embraced Livingston's proposal and by 1807 was ready to launch The Clermont, named after Livingston's hometown.

On its maiden trip, the boat steamed up the Hudson to Albany and returned five days later, having averaged a speed of five miles an hour. Successful as it was, it brought no great wealth to either Livingston or Fulton, for in 1824, John Marshall's Court pronounced their monopoly unconstitutional as an infringement on congressional power to regulate "commerce concerning the several states."

Date Created: 1986

Medium: gouache

Image Size: 12-1/4" x 14"

Signature Location: l.l. ©MKünstler '86

If you would like pricing or more information regarding the purchase of an original painting, please contact us at or (516) 624-2830.


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 © 2001-2022. 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.