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The Official Mort Künstler Website

Southern Stars - limited edition print

Southern Stars - limited edition print

Kernstown, Virginia, Winter 1862

Regular price $2,750.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $2,750.00 USD
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Paper Prints - Official Snow Print, 1994
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: 19 -1/2" x 28” • Overall Size: 24” x 32”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 2500
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 100

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.

Masterpiece large format giclée on canvas: 26” x 37”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 47
Signed Artist's Proof • Edition Size: 5

Historical Information
Months of war had changed the gray-clad horse soldiers from boys to men. They were underfed, outnumbered and sometimes inadequately equipped; they even had to provide their own mounts. Yet time after time in the first half of the war, Confederate cavalrymen bested its Northern counterpart. Victory, soldiers like these believed, would not be determined by superior numbers and supplies: but instead by dedication, skill and pure grit. They were Southerners, defending their homes and homeland.

Sitting easily in the saddle, they moved their horses quietly through the winter darkness on a scouting foray near Kernstown, Virginia. The moon was full, the night was clear. A starry heavenly host sprinkled the northern Virginia sky and the bare trees cast sharp shadows on the freshly fallen snow. The snow muffled the sound of the horses' hooves, and the only noises in the night were the squeak of the saddle leather and the rattle of a carbine sling.

They entered a clearing and passed a country church – Opequon Presbyterian – just as midweek services ended and the congregation was leaving. The church members paused at the doorstep, watching with respect and affection as their countrymen and protectors passed in the night. The warm, inviting lights of the church shined through the darkness and kindled emotions among the young warriors. Less than a year before, they too had enjoyed such peaceful assemblies among family and friends. Visions of home now arose before them: memories of a favorite hymn, a cherished face, a treasured moment of peace.

And then the horsemen were gone, moving into the darkness in search of the war that had befallen them. Soon the flame of battle would engulf the area with the Battle of Kernstown, numbering the Opequon church building among the casualties. Meanwhile, these Southern soldiers would do their duty and fight their battles, sustained by the faith of their fathers and the harbored memories of home.

Mort Künstler’s Comments
For years I carried in my mind the image of a painting. It was a snow scene, at night, with a group of horsemen riding by a church just as services ended. The congregation was visible, but the church was a dominant backdrop to the scene. I wanted this to be a country church with the right setting and the right foliage to match my image.

Finally, after years of watching for the right church in the right time and place. I "discovered" the Opequon Presbyterian Church in Kernstown, Virginia - near historical Winchester. The church building was on the site of the 1862 battle of Kernstown. Area history experts like C. Langdon Gordon, Ben Ritter and Marial Kalban provided the church's history.

Opequon Church was severely damaged during the Battle of Kernstown and was destroyed by fire in 1873. The present church building was constructed on the foundation of the original structure with windows of the same shape and size as the Civil War era building. No image of the original structure exists today, so I hope this painting - which is based on the existing building - preserves the qualities and atmosphere of the Civil War church.

I hope too that Southern Stars helps preserve the historical sites of Kernstown and Winchester, which were so important during the War Between the States, and also reflects the legacy of the common Confederate soldier who was sustained during an awful war by the faith and traditions of the South.

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