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"We Still Love You General Lee" by Mort Kunstler

The Surrender at Appomatox, April 9, 1865

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print

Image size: 17 3/8" x 28 1/2"

Edition size: 950 S/N

Price: SOLD OUT (we only have this available on our secondary market---call for current price and availability--800-237-6077)

Returning to his camp after meeting with U.S. Grant at Appomattox, Lee rides his beloved Traveller through the Southern lines. He wears a full dress uniform, sash, and ceremonial sword. He wanted to look his best for the encounter with Grant, which he had faced with characteristic dignity.

Although defeated, Lee had negotiated generous terms that paroled his men and allowed them to keep their horses. As he rides past them, the soldiers, many with tears in their eyes, cheer and press toward him, touching his leg or even his horse out of affection.

Pausing, Lee told his army, "Men, we have fought the war together, and I have done the best I could for you." He then doffed his hat, uttered a heartfelt good-bye, and returned to his tent. A tattered soldier turned in the ranks and shouted, "We still love you, General Lee!" Even now, more than a century later, the legacy of the man still evokes strong sentiments from those who study the war.

In 1960, I read Burke Davis's To Appomattox, At the time, I was not particularly interested in the Civil War, but I found his descriptions of the surrender and Lee's return to his headquarters very poignant. More than twenty years later I was commissioned to do a painting that would become the logo for the television miniseries The Blue and the Gray. I became inspired and did a series of paintings on the Civil War that were exhibited at a one-man show at Hammer Galleries in New York City in 1982. One of those paintings was We Still Love You, General Lee.

After the show, I moved on to mostly western art and Americana themes. Finally, I embarked on a series of epic events in American history, such as the fall of the Alamo, Custer's Last Stand, and the Battle of Gettysburg. While I was in Gettysburg, researching the painting that became The High Water Mark, I met Ted Sutphen of American Print Gallery. He later began to publish my work as limited-edition prints.

To make a print of We Still Love You, General Lee I borrowed the original painting from the owner, and I made a number of minor changes to the painting that I felt would improve it. Most artists love to have an opportunity to work on a painting years after they have "finished" it. The print was well received, but I was not satisfied.

I have always wanted to paint a mural. To embark on a very large painting, however, it is necessary to have a finished smaller painting. I chose We Still Love You, General Lee for this huge undertaking because I felt it had all the ingredients of composition, color, emotion, and an event of epic proportion. Again I made changes. Thus, I have two finished paintings of Lee at Appomattox. It all goes back to 1960 and To Appomattox... and I still have the book!

 

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