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Archive for the ‘Artist’ Category

Keith Rocco’s historical paintings are careful representations of the past, immortalized on canvas.  Rocco has been honing his craft since he was a child and received a book on the Civil War for Christmas.  He spent his youth copying the illustrations out of books and studying history.  Rocco’s paintings are carefully planned out and meticulously executed.  He works with historians and depending on where the event he is painting took place, will reach out to local historians and museums for detailed analysis.  Rocco does as much research as possible before taking brush to canvas and takes great lengths to ensure what he is painting is accurate.

Civil War Artist Keith Rocco

ArtistKeith Rocco

Birthplace: Illinois

Studio:  Shenandoah Valley, VA

Galleries/Museums: “In 1985 Rocco was proclaimed by the French magazine Uniformes, as a ‘artist in the tradition of Remington and Detaille.'” His paintings have been exhibited and commissioned by, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Pentagon, the Atlanta Historical Society, the House of Representatives, Gettysburg National Park, the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the National Guard Heritage Collection, and the U.S. Army War.  He has painted three murals for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison  College, six murals for the Pamplin Historical Park, a centerpiece mural “Gettysburg”, for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, and worked on commissions for the University of Illinois Press, University of Georgia Press, Chapel Hill, Military History, American History Illustrated, Napoleon Journal, Soldats Napoleonien, Le Livre Chez Vous and other publications.

Process:  Rocco is a calculated artist who researches and gathers information months in advance of a painting.  He has even been known to think about ideas for years before taking brush to canvas.  Rocco is a purest and his website bio hints at the historical perfection he strives to obtain.  “The small cup of earth on his studio shelf, for instance, was sent to confirm the color of the soil at Jamestown Colonial site,” (Rocco).

Rocco is also a collector of Civil War relics and his peers even comment on his array of Civil War memorabilia as impressive.   When I spoke with Steve Sylvia, President of Civil War Dealers and Collectors Association (CWDCA)  he explained that because Rocco is a collector, he is able to obtain accuracy based on his intimate familiarization with the artifacts of the Civil War.

 Keith Rocco, [is] considered [one of the] top in the world today.  More importantly, he is a collector.  He can offer another angle as a man who knows the details of the artifacts, uniforms, weapons, etc. and the appeal of such items to collectors.  This goes toward accuracy of detail and the reasoning behind that as opposed to say an Impressionistic representation, for example.

The 140th New York on Little Round Top, Artist Keith Rocco

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Mort Kunstler

Mort Künstler is a Civil War artist who is painting well into his eighties from a studio that boasts a backdrop of blue and grey. Located on Long Island, New York the casual visitor might first believe that Künstler is captivated by the sea, but his daughter Jane is quick to point out, “he lives on the water but he doesn’t paint seascapes because he thinks it is really boring, it’s not a challenge.  He loves looking at it but he doesn’t find it a challenge.”

Künstler rises to the challenge, capturing Civil War art and the passion that was evoked in events during the war. True to form, Künstler researches, walks, and talks the Civil War to get a better sense of the ideas, images, and first-hand accounts he is portraying.

Cognizant of painting an aestetically pleasing representation, Künstler’s pieces create a connection between the present day audience and the past faces of the war. “About half of Mort’s collectors are women which is surprising,” Jane comments.

Künstler’s artwork is sought after in the art collectors’ world.  At a recent museum exhibit at Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia visitors not only attended the event but inquired on purchasing the original works. “Three paintings were sold right away and it was the women who were just as, or more so, involved in the decision-making and choosing and interest and enthusiasm of the sale as the husband,” Jane explains.

Artist: Mort Künstler

Studio: Oyster Bay, Long Island New York

Education: Brooklyn College, U.C.L.A. and Pratt Institute

Previous Occupations: Illustrator for magazine copy in New York, National Geographic, Official NASA Space Shuttle Artist, film artist, CBS-TV The Blue and the Gray

Künstler’s objective is to paint paintings that allow the audience to feel as though they were there, in the moment.  His accuracy is noteworthy as is his choice in events to capture.  Künstler also looks for events that are less known but still send a strong message to those viewing the work.

Galleries/Museums: The American Spirit – The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, text written by, Henry Steele Commager, Gettysburg National Military Park Museum on July 2, 1988 (125th anniversary of the Civil War), painting, The High Water Mark, Images of the Civil War – The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, text written by James McPherson, Gettysburg – The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, text written by James McPherson, television show, Images of the Civil War – The Paintings of Mort Kunstler aired on A&E, Nassau County Museum of Art exhibit, The Civil War – The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, “Mort Kunstler Day” by Governor James Gilmore in 1999 and 200, Virginia, Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond exhibit, The Confederate Spirit: The Paintings of Mort Kunstler, Official Artist of the Ohio State Bicentennial, named official artists for the cinematic creation Gods and Generals, published book Gods and Generals: The Paintings of Mort Künstler, exhibit at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, given the Henry Timrod Southern Culture Award by the M.O.S.B., Jefferson Davis Southern Heritage Award from the Military Order of the Stars recipient.

Process:  Künstler works alongside historians and researches historic events that took place during the Civil War.  His passion for painting historically accurate events of the Civil War really ignited in 1998 after he was commissioned to create a Civil War cover illustration for the CBS-TV program, The Blue and the Gray.  He could paint anything but enjoys the challenge of accuracy and presenting a historical representation of an event.  Künstler relies on historians like Dr. James I. Robertson Jr., alumni and recently retired Professor at Virginia Tech in creating historically representative narrative paintings.

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I took a trip to Gettysburg to interview Wayne Motts about Dale Gallon’s art work of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

I have the pleasure of showing you the videos from this trip where Mr. Motts explains the work of Dale Gallon in the present day settings.

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Wayne is a native of Groveport Ohio where his father is the director of the Motts Military Museum. Wayne graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelors degree in the field of Military History and earned his Masters degree in American History from the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

For the past 12 years Wayne has been a licensed battlefield guide at Gettysburg National Military Park and has given tours of the battle grounds to thousands of visitors from all over the world. Currently, Wayne is the full-time research historian for renowned military painter Dale Gallon of Gettysburg.

Wayne lectures extensively to a wide range of historical bodies, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Additionally, Wayne has authored several works relating to the American Civil War, including the book “Trust in God and Fear Nothing”. It is the only published biography of Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead, who was killed at Gettysburg. In addition to his own writing, Wayne is an Associate Editor of North and South Magazine, a nationally recognized periodical in the field of Civil War history.

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See what happens in the studio with Dale Gallon

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The rolling fields of Gettysburg come alive with reenactors, statues to Civil War legends and Dale Gallon’s art.  Gallon has a seeded love for the Civil War that comes from gingerly flipping through his father’s Civil War portrait books at Christmas time in Southern California.   Enamored by the vivid colorations and stately looks of Generals in battle, Gallon remained mystified by the action scenes and fields of Gettysburg where historical battles erupted.

Artist Dale Gallon

Artist: Dale Gallon

Birthplace: Southern California

Studio:  Gettysburg, Pa.

Education: Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles

Previous Occupations: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, educator at the University of California Long Beach, free-lance artist

Remarks:

I happen to live within a mile or two of where General Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia into the pivotal battle of the War.  The battlefield is my office.  I don’t need much more inspiration.  I suspect people who collect my paintings feel that on the canvas. – Dale Gallon

Galleries/Museums: U.S. Army War College, the Pentagon, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, Tanenbaum Park & Guilford, Battleground in Greensboro, NC, Virginia Military Institute, Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, KS, Minnesota State Capitol, and  private collectors.

 

Dale and Anne Gallon

Hopes:

“That future generations understand what a great history our nation has and stimulates the thirst for historical knowledge for all Americans.”  – Dale Gallon

Process:

Painstaking research goes into every Gallon original and it’s not just Gallon alone that creates the final rendering.  He relies on a team of historians, professors, and Civil War experts to ensure an accurate glimpse into history.   On one of my visits to Gallon’s studio in Gettysburg, he explained to me the concept behind the painting and all of those involved in getting a final piece completed.

Here is his process…


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