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12-30-11

Crossing the Delaware On Display at the New-York Historical Society until January 17

Mort Künstler creates historically accurate version of George Washington’s crossing depicted in iconic 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze

NEW YORK, NY, December 30—The New-York Historical Society announced it will display Mort Künstler’s Washington's Crossing at McKonkey's Ferry until January 17, 2012.

Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware commemorates General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on December 25 in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. His original painting is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mort Künstler, a New York artist known for his historical paintings, has created his own, more historically accurate version of Washington crossing the Delaware River. The painting was unveiled at the New-York Historical Society on Monday, December 26, the date in 1776 that Washington led his troops into battle in Trenton after crossing the Delaware.

Thomas R. Suozzi, former Nassau County Executive and history buff, commissioned Künstler  to paint "a more realistic depiction of Washington's heroic effort under desperate circumstances and during the lowest point of the Revolution."   Suozzi has lent the painting to the New-York Historical Society and intends to lend it to other institutions saying "we hope children and all Americans will learn from this painting."

David Hackett Fischer, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Washington's Crossing, and featured speaker at the unveiling, says Künstler's version is "quite accurate" and "got more right than any other image." The original painting shows the Betsy Ross flag flying, however that flag was not adopted until 1777; Mr. Künstler’s version has no flag. The original painting depicts the action taking place in the middle of the day, though the actual crossing took place during a stormy night. Based on historical research, the new painting shows Washington and company in a flat-bottomed ferry boat rather than on a row boat.

The newly restored Luetze painting will be unveiled in a new frame in the New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum on January 16.

The New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; Lincoln and New York; The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society; and Nueva York. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs is one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.

Contact: New-York Historical Society | Laura Washington | 212-873-3400 x263 | lwashington@nyhistory.org

Creative: Tronvig Group