The Heckscher Museum of Art has two new exhibits coming later this month for you to check out, with two different themes accompanying them.
The first is a collection of work from Long Island resident Mort Künstler, which features exciting pieces from the 91-year-old artist that previously appeared in magazines throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The second are paintings from Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso, a native New Yorker of Cuban and Ecuadorian descent whose artwork celebrate female artists dating all the way back to the Renaissance.
Long before blockbuster superhero movies, those looking for an adrenaline rush turned to adventure magazines, featuring exciting stories and thrilling illustrations. As the go-to artist and illustrator, Künstler’s work graced hundreds of magazine covers, stories, and books, firmly establishing his prominence in the pulp fiction genre.
For the first time, more than 80 of these remarkable original artworks are shown together in The Heckscher Museum of Art’s exhibition, “Mort Künstler: ‘The Godfather’ of Pulp Fiction Illustrators.” The exhibit will be on display starting Aug. 24 and will be there until Nov. 17.
Originally featured in magazines such as “Stag,” “Male,” and “For Men Only,” the illustrations brought to life headlines that screamed adventure. The images of men in combat, women in distress, and nature threatening man immediately caught the reader’s attention.
“You try to pick a moment that will entice the reader and catch their attention and make them want to read the whole text,” explains Künstler. “The whole goal is to make them stop and go, ‘what’s going on here?’”
Künstler was so good, that there were instances when his carefully detailed illustrations actually inspired a story, rather than the other way around. During his long career, Künstler illustrated stories for many authors, including Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather,” who wrote in the same magazines under the pen name Mario Cleri. Künstler illustrated Puzo’s “The Godfather,” long before the movie franchise. His vision comes amazingly close to how the characters eventually appeared in the movies.
Künstler is perhaps best known as a painter of history. He has exhibited his Civil War art widely. In fact, his painting “The High Water Mark” was unveiled at Gettysburg National Military Park on the 125th anniversary of the battle
Some of the illustrations in the exhibition are based on real events: for instance, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II. Künstler drew real and imagined scenes from WW II, and illustrated stories about daring escapes and bold bank heists, creating a large portfolio
“Nobody captured hard-boiled action better than Mort Künstler. His full-throttle, action-packed, in-your-face images represent the very essence of the pulp era,” said Michael Schantz, executive director of the Heckscher Museum of Art.
The museum will also be producing a catalogue to accompany the exhibit and a traveling exhibition, collaborated between the museum and International Arts & Artists has been organized as well.
Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso
Inspiring stories of historical women are at the center of “A Brush with HerStory: Paintings by Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso” at The Heckscher Museum of Art.
A contemporary painter with extensive art historical knowledge, Dellosso pays tribute to great female painters from the Renaissance through the modern era.
Often melding her own image with other artists, Dellosso creates unique self-portraits that tell fascinating stories. She closely studies the paintings and self-portraits of the featured artists, as well as their histories, and recreates costumes and poses that enhance the story. Though they may not be household names, her subjects have compelling stories about being a female artist throughout the ages.
Among the artists portrayed by Dellosso is Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), whose monumental work was destroyed during the French Revolution. Dellossso depicts herself as the historic painter, down to the blue dress featured in Labille-Guiard’s own self-portrait. Dellosso had the dress recreated by a seamstress, and it will also be featured in the gallery.
Another artist, Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625), was the “first great woman artist of the Renaissance,” according to Dellosso, and attained international fame. She was even praised by renowned artist Michelangelo. To compose her painting, Dellosso looked at both Anguissola’s self-portrait and her own reflection in three-quarter view.
The exhibition includes paintings from Dellosso’s most recent series, “Homage Ode,” which takes the form of illuminated manuscripts featuring poetry inspired by select historical artists.
Dellosso’s artistic roots can be found on both sides of her Cuban and Ecuadorian family. Her maternal grandmother and great-grandfather were well respected and published poets in South America. Dellosso’s father studied painting and drawing in Cuba during the pre-Castro era. As a child, she remembers trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her father, where they used to study paintings together.
Dellosso’s themes usually involve the human figure and storytelling. This combination offers viewers a unique cultural statement and interpretation. Dellosso received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.
Delloss’s exhibit, “A Brush with HerStory: Paintings by Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso” will be on view at the Heckscher Museum of Art starting Aug. 31 and can be viewed until Nov. 10.
The Heckscher Museum of Art is located at 2 Prime Avenue in Huntington and is open Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information on both exhibits and the museum can be found online at www.Heckscher.org or by calling 631-351-3250.