Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mort Kunstler Long Island Artist Telling the American Historical Story

The amazingly precise art of Mort Kunstler, Oyster Bay Artist, is being presented at the Long Island Museum in Stonybrook, featuring American History, Art, and Carriages.
 This exhibit fits in beautifully with the mission that I have come to know regarding their emphasis on teaching and  displaying Long Island Art and artifacts.

 Carriages.

Mort Kunsler is a Brooklyn born artist that lives in Oyster Bay.  His work is outstandingly faithful and accurate due to his artistic excellence, and to his pursuit of actual objects and places that he renders in each of his compositions.
 His work had been on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge , Massachusetts.  But a collection of his art, incredibly varied, is on display at the Long Island Museum in Stonybrook. until May 30, 2016.   Mort Kunstler has the ability to portray historical events and themes with super real drawing and rendering.  The works are researched for authenticity.  He graciously smiled for me and was so charming and kind.
 The Art Museum housed in a separate building on the property, is up on a hill.  It has a majestic entrance.
 Inside the Mort Kunstler exhibit was presented.  It included illustrations, paintings for Movie poster art assignments, commercial art, historical oil paintings on canvas, gouache paintings ( an opaque form of watercolor,) a sculpture of a horse, preparatory drawings in pencil and charcoal, covers for magazines, and toy model kits, and  patriotic renderings of American History, and so much more.
 This is a composition of his 1942 Brooklyn Dodger team with their actual autographs.
 In this series of three paintings, Kunstler parodies a famous painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware 1851, Metropolitan Museum of Art,  by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.   The assignment was commissioned by the Yellow Pages Directory.  

My favorite painting in the exhibit was The Culper Spy.   It depicts Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay sitting in a room in Raynam Hall.  Abraham Woodhull, the first spy, signed his letters to Washington as Samuel Culper Sr., and Townsend  signed as Samuel Culper Jr.  This had special meaning to me because a few hundred feet from the Jarvis House stood the Widow Platt's Tavern.  Washington stopped there for lunch on his 1790 tour of Long Island.  He made that tour to inspect the topography, the soil conditions, the crops that could be grown here on Long Island,  but the subtext of his trip was to thank the Culper Spys that helped him win the Revolutionary War.  His lunch at the Tavern is noted by him in the journals that he wrote on this tour.    Kunstler went to Raynam Hall to authentically recreate the image of Townsend and Long Island history.
Anyone interested in a remarkable Long Island Artist should visit the Long Island Museum in Stonybrook.  People at this show were lovingly standing up close to the detailed paintings, in wonder that this artist could capture history in such a thorough and exquisite manner.