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The Official Mort Künstler Website

2019 Christmas Ornament – How Real Soldiers Live

2019 Christmas Ornament – How Real Soldiers Live

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Regular price Sale price $32.00 USD
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2019 Mort Künstler Collectible Ornament
…How Real Soldiers Live

We proudly introduce the Timber Ridge School 24th edition Mort Künstler Collectible Ornament for 2019 titled …How Real Soldiers Live.

Historical Information
In December of 1862, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia bedded down for winter quarters in and around the town of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County. After defeating their Federal adversaries in one of the most lopsided victories of the entire Civil War, the victorious but weathered army looked to the Christmas season as a welcome reprieve. Celebrations around the campsite were especially joyous during this time, as the daily stress of combat was put aside in favor of high spirits.

The officers expressed this sentiment as well and they often held private holiday dinners for their senior commanders. One such meal was hosted by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who was staying in nearby Caroline County. Although he was not the most socially adept of Lee’s lieutenants, Jackson extended a warm invitation to his commander and staff to enjoy an evening of hospitality at his headquarters at Moss Neck Plantation.

Upon his arrival, General Lee was treated to a traditional holiday meal, as well as the welcome company of his most trusted subordinates. The evening went well as conversational merriment replaced the usual discussions of tactics and attrition. Laughter filled the room and, for a few brief hours, the war in Virginia was but a distant memory. For this Christmas night, it was a group of Southern gentlemen, not seasoned soldiers, who came together to celebrate and share a taste of home.

Mort Künstler’s Comments
This painting can be considered a prequel to my painting “Merry Christmas, General Lee,” in which General Robert E. Lee is riding away from the famous Corbin family estate of Moss Neck. On Christmas night, as guests arrived for a party at the mansion, Lee was leaving the small office building of the grand estate where he had attended a Christmas dinner at the invitation of Stonewall Jackson.

My idea was to capture the viewer in an emotional moment. I decided to contrast the cold loneliness of the sentry peering in the window, to the warm convivial atmosphere of the party going on inside. I also used a cool color palette for the outside of the building and, quite naturally, the warm colors at the opposite end of the spectrum for the interior scene. Making the sentry large emphasized the story of the different circumstances of the officers and the sentry. I tried to depict the private as perhaps envious, but in awe of getting this close private view of the two great Confederate generals. It also gave me an opportunity to show them as smiling and very human.

From the School
Timber Ridge School proudly presents limited edition Christmas ornaments featuring the artwork of renowned Civil War artist Mr. Mort Künstler.

Each ornament comes in a presentation box, with blue felt backing, blue cord, a certificate of authenticity and an ornament stand. Timber Ridge School is a licensed residential treatment and accredited educational program serving young men with a history of serious emotional, learning, and behavioral difficulties. As a fundraiser the school creates a Christmas ornament featuring the art of Mort Kunstler, which is donated by the artist for this use.

To learn more about the Timber Ridge School, visit

Mr. Künstler has been a very generous supporter of the School since 1996 by donating the use of a piece of his artwork for our ornaments. His tremendous support of our program was recognized in March of 2003 with the dedication of the Mort Künstler Residence Hall. We can’t thank him enough for his partnership to the students and families we serve.

All proceeds from the sale of ornaments are earmarked for the improvement of student programs and facilities.
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