Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures with Künstler and Gallon

My second week here at the library has gone by just as quickly as the first. With so many interesting projects to work on, I’m keeping busy and learning an array of new things, especially about exhibit curating. This week I’ve also made sure to take note of new connections between the research I’m doing at the library and my studies in Art History.

On Tuesday I was originally scheduled to help install the Mort Künstler and Dale Gallon exhibit in the apse, but since Carolyn is out this week the installation process was postponed for next week instead. Eventually I will be drafting the text for the exhibit and also creating the corresponding webpage, so I decided to get a head start on my research.

Through some digging I learned that the collection to be displayed consists of twenty prints, fourteen of Dale Gallon paintings and six of Mort Künstler paintings. Both artists have been highly praised within the genre of Civil War art, and have reputations for historical accuracy in addition to extreme detail. Personally, I had never thought of Civil War art as an artistic “genre” before; I considered the galleries in town to be tourist attractions with a very limited audience of Civil War buffs and military collectors. Now, though, I find it fascinating to look at a genre of contemporary art that focuses on historical events as key subject matter. It reminds me of the Italian Renaissance fascination with classical subjects.

One thing I found especially interesting about Gallon was the role that research and historical understanding play in his artistic method. As described on his website, he actually employs a staff historian to assist in complex research for his paintings. This person is responsible for researching every detail of a subject and for writing a comprehensive historical essay, which accompanies every print made. Furthermore, Gallon himself identifies important people and/or landmarks in the upper and lower borders, so that the collector can better understand the history that inspired the work. As a result, his paintings serve as illustrative accounts of the Civil War, memorializing this pivotal point in American history and educating the public.

Almost like a Gettysburg monument, don’t you think? I want to look into Künstler’s work some more. I'd like to see how his approach compares with Gallon’s studio and research methods.

To read more about these artists, check out the following sites!

Mort Künstler:

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited that you are seeing connections between the research you are doing for the library exhibits and your studies in art history! One of the best things about being on the Exhibits Committee is gaining new knowledge with each exhibit curated.