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HUMAN DECENCY DURING WAR "BEYOND BRADY": Photography in the Civil War Era, Pamplin Historical Park, 6125 Boydton Plank Road, Petersburg. The interactive exhibit features more than 130 artifacts and images covering all aspects of photography during the mid-1800s. Runs through September 2009. Adults, $15; senior citizens, $13.50; ages 6-12, $9. 877/726-7546, pamplinpark.org. page 3

 Artist Mort K^BENT^00FC^EENT^nstler's 'My Friend, the Enemy' depicts Civil War soldiers from opposite sides sharing their meager supplies. The scene is downriver from Fredericksburg.
K^BENT^00FC^EENT^nstler Enterprises Ltd.
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Date published: 11/8/2008


"Originality is something that every artist wants to achieve," Künstler said. "Every one of us has an ego to some degree, and I feed it by doing things that no one else has done before." He joked, "When you paint something that no one else has done, it's the best."

This newest piece by Künstler captures a quiet moment that stands in stark contrast to the usual Civil War paintings of Fredericksburg that dominate other period artists' work. Most depict either the disastrous Federal charge at the stone wall, or the ransacking of the shelled-out city.

Local collectors and fans who are familiar with the Künstler catalog may liken this release to another tender moment that the artist chose to capture in his "Angel of Marye's Heights," which depicts Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland giving water to the wounded enemy.

"These kinds of scenes are really special for me to paint," said Künstler, "as they bring the little guy to the forefront. I do enjoy painting the larger-than-life generals and presidents, but it's the regular everyday soldier that is often forgotten."

He added: "The most touching stories from the war are always about the little guys on both sides. I tried to capture their mutual suffering and respect in this piece."

Fredericksburg has always been a favorite backdrop for Künstler, who has painted more than 12 pieces featuring the area. "I absolutely love the town," he confessed. "Every time that I visit, the people are always wonderful, and the rich history that surrounds the city provides all the inspiration a painter could ever need."

The artist will be in Fredericksburg to unveil "My Friend, the Enemy" and sign prints of his painting on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at VFW Post 3103 at 2701 Princess Anne St.

Sponsor Don McKenzie of King James Galleries said in an e-mail: "We anticipate that much of our inventory of 'My Friend, the Enemy' will sell out prior to the signing. We are recommending that people call and pre-order now. We will then bring the orders to the event for the customers."

Additional Mort Künstler prints, framed and unframed, also will be available. Those interested in reserving a print for the day of the signing may call the gallery at 888/217-1865.

Künstler made a point, in closing, to acknowledge his own excitement about the print and the signing. "I have wanted to paint this scene for a very long time, and now that I have, I am so very thankful that it has been received with such enthusiasm. I can't wait to share it with everyone."

Michael Aubrecht is a Fredericksburg-area author and historian. Visit his Web site at pin stripepress.net. E-mail him in care of gwoolf@freelance star.com.

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WHAT: Mort Künstler print signing for "My Friend, the Enemy" WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. WHERE: VFW Post 3103, 2701 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg INFORMATION: King James Galleries, 888/217-1865