Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Mort Künstler’s artistic talent was recognized at an early age. After graduating from the Pratt Institute in 1950, he got his start professionally by illustrating men’s adventure magazines and pulp fiction covers. Those paintings — sometimes lurid, sometimes exciting, sometimes shocking — showed a knack for engaging the viewer with a visual story. That storytelling ability and his skill with a brush soon landed him more ambitious projects.
Today, Künstler is recognized as one of America’s greatest historical artists. His devotion to research and historical accuracy, especially in his well-known Civil War paintings, has set his work apart. Many of Künstler’s paintings that were, like Norman Rockwell’s, once considered “just illustrations” are now finding homes in fine art museums around the country.
The images below show just some of the genres of illustration in which Mort Künstler has left his mark. You can find out more about Künstler—and see more of his work—in the January/February 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.
Lafayette with Washington at Morristown
The Civil War
The Bloody Angle
“Angel of Marye’s Heights”
The Poseidon Adventure
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Men’s Adventure Stories
“Kill 3, on Elephants”
Trapped by Santo Domingo’s Kill-and-Loot Rebels