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The Stranded Coal Wagon

Stranded Coal Wagon

Artist: Wilbur George Kurtz

Title: The Stranded Coal Wagon (The Affair of the Stranded Coal Wagon and Mile on Kuhn St.Wednesday afternoon February 14, 1912)

Date: 1936

Medium: Watercolor

Size: 10″ x 12″

Tradition: Narrative in Art

The Artist: Wilbur George Kurtz, who became known nationally as a Georgia artist-historian and a foremost authority on the Old South, humorously counted himself a “transplanted Yankee.” Born February 28, 1882 in Oakland, Illinois, reared in Greencastle, Indiana, educated at DePauw University and the Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. Kurtz’ origins and upbringing were Midwestern. As a young artist in Chicago he worked as a draftsman, engraver, professional illustrator, and specialized in architectural rendering. He first saw Atlanta in 1903, when he journeyed South to interview Andrews Raid participants. The “quiet, pleasant town, full of churches, where they rolled up the sidewalks at dark every night,” captivated him. He moved to Atlanta in 1912. His home was “right next to a Civil War battlefield,” and he embarked on an amazing lifelong quest for history, within a region rich with unrecorded history. His adventures with pen, paintbrush, and sketchbook spanned the 55 years he lived in Atlanta, and earned for Wilbur Kurtz a unique place among artists, historians, and the respect and affections of fellow Georgians. Many public buildings and private art collections throughout Atlanta and the South feature Kurtz murals and historical paintings.

About the Artwork: Most of Wilbur Kurtz work showed a preoccupation with the history of Atlanta and a love of the South before and during the War Between the States. Nevertheless, he was quite proud of Atlanta’s restoration and growth after the war. It was his desire to illustrate, in some measure, how Atlanta rose from the ashes to become the symbol of Henry Grady’s New South. This is example of his art showing Atlanta scenes during the post-war years.

Last updated: 2/12/2020