Monday, July 29, 2013

Meet Renowned Civil War Artist Mort Künstler

Here’s your chance to meet nationally acclaimed artist Mort Künstler. He will sign prints of his new painting “Capitol Farewell,” featuring the North Carolina State Capitol as it appeared on Feb. 5, 1863. The artist will sign two items per person on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Museum Shop at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Weekend parking is free.
            The Museum Shop is the first venue to have “Capitol Farewell” prints available for purchase. Call the shop at 919-807-7835 to reserve your print before Sept. 14.
            In addition to the print, the Museum Shop has items related to the painting “Winter Riders,” books, and other Künstler memorabilia. 
 Details About “Capitol Farewell”
            “Capitol Farewell” will be unveiled for the exhibit For Us the Living: The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler, opening Friday, Aug. 23.
            In the painting’s nighttime scene, a streetlamp illuminates a couple preparing to part during wartime. Snow blankets the Capitol grounds in this view from Hillsborough Street.
            In the exhibit text, Künstler describes “Capitol Farewell” in his own words. This excerpt focuses on soldiers leaving home. 
            “In this new painting, a young couple says good-bye, perhaps for the last time. Scenes of this sort took place thousands of times, all over the country, in both the North and the South. I have attempted to capture the drama of those moments and to show the difficulties of the soldier’s life.”
            An iron fence that was on the Capitol grounds at the time appears in “Capitol Farewell.” The fence was moved in 1899 to the Raleigh City Cemetery, where it stands today.
            “Capitol Farewell” is one of two paintings Künstler has created of the North Carolina State Capitol as it appeared on Feb. 5, 1863. The first such painting is “Winter Riders” (1995).
            “It is wonderful that Mr. Künstler has chosen to do a second painting of our beautiful State Capitol Building,” says Museum Shop Manager Lynn Brower. “Those who missed getting a print of ‘Winter Riders’ years ago will have an opportunity to purchase ‘Capitol Farewell.’ Of course, anyone who collects Künstler’s work will welcome the chance to add this new print to their collection.”
            Call the Museum Shop to reserve your “Capitol Farewell” print today!
For more information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access or Facebook.
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File Capitol Farewell: The painting “Capitol Farewell” will be unveiled especially for the exhibit For Us the Living: The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler, opening Aug. 23 at the N.C. Museum of History. The North Carolina State Capitol is prominent in this winter scene
About the N.C. Museum of History
The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Monday, July 08, 2013

On the road

My journey continues this week. Please come on out and let's chat a spell if you are in the area. Everyone is welcomed at any of these events!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - Johnson City, TN - SCV Camp - they meet at the Empire China Buffett on Roan Street at 6:00 pm.

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - Morganton, NC - Burke County Museum of History - 6:30 pm. This is a round table discussion.

Saturday, July 12, 2013 - Fayetteville, NC - Museum of the Cape Fear Complex - 1:00 pm. I be talking about Charlotte and Fayetteville, and taking your questions.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Writing about Gettysburg

Well, today's the day... the 150th anniversary of the conclusion of the battle of Gettysburg. I'll be the first to admit it: Gettysburg is not my favorite. Of course, confessing that one likes any site where thousands of men were killed and wounded might sound a little odd. But as battlefields go, Gettysburg is not a very high on my list. It probably has something to do with the air-brushed t-shirts and the ghost tours on every street corner. Just a few short miles down the road is my favorite: Antietam. But that is another post.

Yesterday, I was thinking on my own connections to the battle. No, I do not have any direct ancestors who fought in the battle (just a slew of cousins). My own ancestors (save one who wound up in the 11th Florida) were all in the Army of Tennessee, or the western theater, getting ready to get surrendered tomorrow at Vicksburg. My connections come from writing about the battle. My first published piece was on Col. Collett Leventhorpe, 11th North Carolina Troops, who was wounded on July 1 fighting the Iron brigade. That article appeared in North and South Magazine in 1997.The next time I had a published piece on Gettysburg was the chapter in the book on the 37th North Carolina Troops. That was released in 2003.

The chapter on Gettysburg in the 37th NCT book was the first chapter that I wrote. The publisher wanted to see a sample chapter, and I chose the July 1863 battle for that chapter. I'm not sure I remember why. It might have had something to do with the primary sources I had collected at the time, or maybe something to do with the wealth of secondary sources, but it was the first chapter that I wrote for the book, and it landed me a contract.

I then set out on a set of articles about North Carolina for Gettysburg Magazine. There are still others that I would like to write, I've just not gotten around to them yet.

In 2011, I returned to the battle - adding my own name to the seemingly countless others who have penned a book about the battle. In the course of my research over the past fifteen years, I have collected almost four score articles written by Tar Heel soldiers about the battle. These were lightly edited and put into a volume entitled ­North Carolina Remembers Gettysburg. I greatly enjoy this volume - it is like standing on the battlefield and listening to the soldiers themselves telling me about their time they spent on those rolling Pennsylvania hills.

So what is in store? As I said before, I still have an article or two I would like to write about the battle, and, with the recent contract with Savas-Beatie for a book on the Branch-Lane brigade, I will be returning to visit with some new friends. Who knows? Maybe I will write the Gettysburg chapter first.