An original gouache on board created for the cover of the September 1962 edition of For Men Only, illustrating the story “Operation’Never-Talk:’ Shocking Revenge of Norway’s Partisan Nymph. (A Smuggled-In Yank And A Wild Anti-Nazi Underground Girl” by James S. Wagner. A large finely rendered scene of a bungled SS operation, with a trio of tightly wound American service men, a gathering of inebriated Nazis, and a pair of scantily clad female secret agents acting as decoys.
Interior story text reads: “smuggled in as an explosives expert for Oslo’s resistance fighters, OSS agent Matteson found himself sharing a strangely intimate relationship with the wildly uninhibited girl who bossed the anti-Nazi underground.”
In the 1960s and 1970s, men’s magazines exploited Cold War tensions and capitalized on prevalent working class American fears. “The Sweats,” as they are commonly known, followed the blueprint set by the pulp magazines of the previous generation, depicting perceived enemies as savages, Nazis, and Communist torturers.
Leading illustrators in this strangely subversive genre, such as Norman Saunders, James Bama, Norm Eastman, Rafael DeSota and Mort Kunstler, created sensational, figurative illustrations executed in a style markedly similar to Socialist Realism and its associated propaganda imagery.
A bio on the Artist follows:
Born in 1931, Mort Künstler studied art at Brooklyn College, UCLA, and the Pratt Institute. After he left school, he became a successful illustrator in New York, freelancing for book and magazine publishers, culminating in a long-term affiliation with National Geographic Magazine. It was through their assignments of historical subjects that Künstler learned the value of intensive research and collaboration with historians, leading to a well-earned reputation for accuracy and detail.
No other artist has ever recorded so many events in the history of America, and certainly no one has done them with such extraordinary authenticity and drama as Mort Künstler. From the Revolutionary War and Western or Native American subjects to his current recognition as the premier artist of the Civil War, he is considered America’s reigning dean of historical artists.
Mort Künstler has had exhibitions in numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States, including the Gettysburg National Battlefield, New York’s Nassau County Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of History and the inaugural painting exhibition at the new National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. Many books of his work have been published in collaboration with famous historians such as Henry Steele Commager, Pulitzer prize winner James McPherson, James I. Robertson, Jr. and others. His paintings are widely represented in the permanent collections of museums, as well as in private and public collections throughout the United States.