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Washington’s “Watch Chain” - limited edition print

Washington’s “Watch Chain” - limited edition print

West Point, November 30, 1779

Regular price $225.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $225.00 USD
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The PREMIER edition is shipped FREE* and UNSTRETCHED. Stretching is available at an additional charge. Please contact us for pricing: 800-850-1776 or

* Free shipping within the Continental U.S.

Custom framing is available for this print. Please call 800-850-1776 or email for more information.

Paper Prints
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: 16” x 29-1/2” • Overall Size: 21” x 33-1/2”
Adjutant General Edition, Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 750 • Only available through AG Corps Regimental Association,
Adjutant General Edition, Signed Artist’s Proof (with seal) • Edition Size • 50
Public Edition, Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 250
Public Edition, Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 25

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.

Signature Edition 15” x 28”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Adjutant General Edition 18” x 33”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 300 • Only available through AG Corps Regimental Association,
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Premier Edition 21” x 39”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 15
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 5

“This magnificent painting... is superb. Besides the obvious beauty of the art itself, there is another factor to the best of my knowledge it is the only depiction existing of how the chain was removed from the river each year as winter fell. It is destined, then, to be used in decades and decades to come in all sorts of illustrations, newspaper stories, magazines, etc. You have a splendid reputation, and already a great legacy if you painted no more, but my guess is that this one will add long-term luster to both.”
Dave Palmer, Lieutenant General (Ret.), Former Superintendant of West Point

“Mort Künstler has hit another home run with his painting of “Washington’s Watch Chain.” As America’s Premier Military Artist, Mort’s attention to detail, absolute accuracy of the period, and his ability to bring the moment to life, gives us another masterpiece to help bring our original American patriots into the current consciousness of America. No one else I have ever known has the gift of historical perspective and the talent to make you feel you are standing in the snow with George Washington at West Point in the winter of 1779!”
Colonel, (Ret.) Gary L. Gresh, 20th Commandant of the Adjutant General’s Corps

“The painting is a dramatically spectacular rendering of one of America’s greatest leaders overseeing the removal from the Hudson River of one of its most effective investments...the Great Chain at West Point. Well done. Huzzah!”
Colonel (Ret.) Jim Johnson, Military Historian of the Hudson River Valley

“The Washington’s Watch Chain painting is SPECTACULAR!”
Tom Fleming, distinguished historian of the American Revolution

Mort Künstler’s Comments

In October 2010, I accepted a commission from the Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association to do a painting for placement in the Hall of Honor at the Adjutant General School at Fort Jackson, S.C. The painting would commemorate over 200 years of service by the Adjutant General’s Corps to the United Sates of America. In conversations with Colonel Gary L. Gresh, the 20th Commandant, Adjutant General’s Corps, Ret., we came up with the idea of George Washington at West Point, observing the removal of the Great Chain from the Hudson River. I knew very little about it, but I did find out that it had never before been painted! That was instantly exciting to me.

The story of the chain is a fascinating one. During the Revolution, the British ruled the seas. The English with their Hessian allies, occupied Long Island and New York City. The Continentals held New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. If the British could sail up the Hudson from New York City and connect with their forces in Canada, they would essentially be able to cut the United States in half. Washington endorsed a scheme that would string a giant chain across the river, resting on pine floats. The entire system of chain and floats had to be removed before the river froze over and then put back in the spring. If frozen into the Hudson, the chain would have been destroyed by the ice. That is the moment I chose to depict.

After taking special notice of Colonel Timothy Pickering’s leadership abilities, General George Washington offered him the position of Adjutant General of the Continental Army in 1777. When Washington moved his headquarters to West Point, Pickering oversaw the construction of forts; batteries, redoubts and the “Great Chain” designed to block the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson River. Forged at Stirling Iron Works under Pickering’s watchful eye, the chain was completed in six weeks. In spring of 1778, the heavy chain supported by huge logs stretched across the Hudson from West Point to Constitution Island, a point where the river narrowed and turned sharply to the west. The “Great Chain” protected the Patriot fortress from attack for the duration of the war.

On December 15th, after a short drive from my Oyster Bay home, I was at the West Point Museum visiting with David M. Reel, Director, and Gary Hood, Curator of Art. I saw a section of the huge chain, and actually stood on the very spot depicted in this painting at the very same time of the year and the same time of day! The stars were truly aligned for me because it had snowed earlier in the week, just the way it had some 230 years earlier.

On January 5, 1778, Alexander Scammel was appointed George Washington’s new Adjutant General, the seventh in the brief history of the Continental Army. Pickering remained at West Point with Washington and would go on in 1780 to become Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army. This gave me the opportunity to paint both the acting Adjutant General and the previous Adjutant General in the same painting. Colonel Scammel would remain in his post until 1781, when he was succeeded by Brigadier General Edward Hand.
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