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With Brush, Mold, Chisel, and Pen: Reflections on Civil War Art

 

Now open to the public!

The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park are pleased to announce the opening of an exciting new exhibit June 29 dedicated to artworks focusing on Gettysburg and the American Civil War.

Titled With Brush, Mold, Chisel, and Pen: Reflections on Civil War Art, the exhibit features some of the most celebrated artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries – including several who served in the war. It showcases artworks in oil, pen-and-ink and sculpture that capture battles and the experiences of leaders and common soldiers. These objects – many related to Gettysburg – evoke facets of a portrait of the United States during one of its most turbulent eras.

The exhibit debuts in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center’s Gilder Lehrman Special Exhibits Gallery and its artworks hail from the collection of Gettysburg National Military Park, as well as several on loan from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Collection.

Admission to With Brush, Mold, Chisel, and Pen: Reflections on Civil War Art is included with the purchase of Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience tickets or with purchase of museum-only tickets, all available at the ticket counter in the lobby of the Museum & Visitor Center, online at www.gettysburgfoundation.org, or by telephone at 877-874-2478.

Highlights include:
“Opening of the Battle of Gettysburg and Death of General Reynolds, July 1, 1863” by Xanthus Russell Smith (1839-1929). Smith briefly served in the Union Navy during the Civil War. He also painted one of the earliest depictions of the death of Major General John F. Reynolds during the Battle of Gettysburg. Commander of the Union Army’s First Corps, Reynolds was the highest ranking officer in either army killed at Gettysburg. The painting shows Union and Confederate forces rushing into battle and combines many of the classic elements typical of 19th century landscape paintings. Smith came from a prominent family of American artists. The Foundation acquired this painting and donated it to the Park in 2015.

Full-length oil portrait of Major General George G. Meade by Thomas Hicks (1823-1890). A renowned 19th century portrait painter, Hicks completed this large-scale portrait of George Gordon Meade, commander of the Union’s Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg and throughout the end of the war, in 1876. The painting incorporates many characteristics of grand-format European portraits. Hicks started his art studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and continued them in New York, London, Paris, Florence and Rome – experiencing many of the classical portrait styles that came to exemplify his work.

Bronze bust of Confederate General Robert E. Lee by Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917). The sculpture is one Confederate soldier’s tribute to his former commander. The first Jewish student to attend Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Ezekiel was wounded in the renowned charge of the VMI cadets at the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. After the war, he returned to VMI, graduating in 1866. The prominent American sculptor studied in Berlin and lived and worked the majority of his life in Rome. Ezekiel won a number of competitions and completed significant commissioned sculptures in Europe and America.

Bronze statue of Admiral George Melville by Samuel A. Murray (1869-1941). Visitors to the Gettysburg battlefield can view this sculptor’s lasting contributions – Goddess of Victory and Peace atop the largest monument, the Pennsylvania State Memorial, and the portrait statue of Father William Corby, chaplain of the famed Irish Brigade’s 88th New York Infantry and later president of Notre Dame University. A protégé of the renowned artist Thomas Eakins, the Philadelphian had a career spanning a half century, including commissions for sculptures and building design elements throughout Pennsylvania. Murray’s connections to prominent Philadelphia Civil War veterans – such as the subject of this bust – defined several of his works.

“Confederate Soldier Types,” Pen and ink sketch no. 27 by Allen C. Redwood (1844-1922). Virginia-born Redwood served in the Confederate Army. In his post-war career, Redwood became a prolific illustrator for several publications, including Century and Harper’s magazines, both of which brought the first illustrated histories of the Civil War to the post-war American public. One of the most popular illustrations of the period – and the original submitted to Century Magazine by the artist – this work reflects the determination of the Civil War soldier. Redwood later illustrated the events of the Spanish-American War for Harper’s Magazine

“Battlefield Headquarters, Antietam,” Pen and ink sketch no. 31 by Rufus F. Zogbaum (1849-1925). This works of this artist, born in Charleston, South Carolina, were so well known that Rudyard Kipling once referred to him in one of his poems. Zogbaum studied at the Art Students League in New York City and under Léon Bonnat in Paris; he also influenced the work of younger artists who later attained fame, such as Frederic Remington. In a time when popular magazines often hired freelance artists, Zogbaum served on Century Magazine’s staff, often as a de-facto illustration editor. He was known for his skill at conveying the power of a moment, well demonstrated by this illustration, an original he submitted to Century Magazine.

Carved walnut cane made from a limb of a tree at Devil's Den, Gettysburg Battlefield. A popular folk-art form of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, battlefield wood souvenir canes provided a tangible link to hallowed ground for veterans and post-war visitors alike. Visitors enjoyed them as mementos of their pilgrimage to the battlefield. Often fashioned from trees at a battlefield location with special significance or featuring carvings based on familiar military symbols or themes, the canes provided Civil War veterans with connections to their wartime experiences.

Wooden drum-style canteen. This early 19th century military “cheesebox” canteen may have been carried or painted by a Confederate soldier – they were common among Southern forces – to pass the time or reminisce about wartime service. The canteen is an example of how soldiers expressed themselves through creative illustration on or customization of military equipment.

Admission to With Brush, Mold, Chisel, and Pen: Reflections on Civil War Art is included with the purchase of Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience tickets or with purchase of museum-only tickets, all available at the ticket counter in the lobby of the Museum & Visitor Center, online at www.gettysburgfoundation.org, or by telephone at 877-874-2478.

The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. The Foundation raised funds for and now operates the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, which opened in April 2008. In addition to operating the Museum and Visitor Center, the Foundation has a broad preservation mission that includes land, monument and artifact preservation and battlefield rehabilitation—all in support of the National Park Service’s goals at Gettysburg.