Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2012

This ‘needs to be in Lawrence’: Famous painting of Quantrill’s Raid goes on sale for $30,000

March 22, 2012


William Quantrill’s attack on Aug. 21, 1863, will forever be Lawrence’s Bloody Dawn, but now a well-known piece of artwork by the same name is looking for a new home.

Connie Breidenthal (left) and Jamie Lavin, director of the Buttonwood Art Space and Kansas City Club, unpack a painting by Bonner Springs artist Ernst Ulmer in this 2010 file photo.

Connie Breidenthal (left) and Jamie Lavin, director of the Buttonwood Art Space and Kansas City Club, unpack a painting by Bonner Springs artist Ernst Ulmer in this 2010 file photo.

Ernst Ulmer’s original oil on canvas painting — depicting a smoke-filled Massachusetts Street swarming with Quantrill’s raiders — is now being offered for $30,000 at a Kansas City art gallery, and the art broker is working to persuade community leaders the piece ought to land in Lawrence.

“I want it to be in Lawrence,” said Kathy Drungilas, a former Lawrence resident who is handling the sale for the Buttonwood Art Space. “It just needs to be in Lawrence. The old Eldridge Hotel is in the picture. Anybody from Lawrence knows exactly where they are on Mass. Street.”

Drungilas said the painting, which is 4 feet by 6 feet, deserves a fitting home. Shortly following Ulmer’s death in 2009, “Bloody Dawn” and many of his works have been on display at the Kansas City Club — as in Kansas City, Mo.

“I love that it is on exhibit, but I feel funny that it is on the Missouri side of the line,” Drungilas said.

Drungilas said she has reached out to some community members and has received a good reception but no sale.

“I think everybody likes it, but no one has put forward a coordinated effort to secure it,” Drungilas said of the image, which has been seen in Lawrence several times through prints that have been made of the original.

Steve Nowak, executive director of the Watkins Community Museum of History, said his organization hasn’t made any effort to secure the piece of art, but he hopes someone in the community will consider doing so.

“It would be great if there were a generous donor out there who wanted to purchase it and make it available on loan for the public to see,” Nowak said. “That is always a great way to get it into the public’s eye without trying to raise public dollars, which can be very difficult.”

Plus, Nowak said, the large painting could be helpful to visitors who sometimes have a hard time visually comprehending Quantrill’s raid.

“You know, they didn’t take snapshots back then,” Nowak said.

Drungilas said Ulmer, a Kansas City artist who gained national renown after celebrities such as Colin Powell began purchasing his historical scenes, was a meticulous researcher who aimed for authenticity in his works.

“I don’t think there is a more prominent image of Quantrill’s Raid out there,” Drungilas said. “I think he is the first artist of any renown to tackle that page of our history.

“It is a significant piece. We all have heard about the raid, but without seeing the flames and the destruction, you don’t really get a sense of it.”


Orwell 5 years, 9 months ago

How about convincing the owner to take a $30K charitable deduction by contributing the painting to the city?

bad_dog 5 years, 9 months ago

Nobody in Kansas likes art, nobody...

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

no one in lawrence would ever pay for anything especially 30 k they are simply to cheap they expect it to be gifted to them that is how the town got to be the home off looney liberals

the rest of the world pretty much owes it to lawrence per the lawrencians that is the way it is and everyone makes so much fun of the city

Orwell 5 years, 9 months ago

Anyone so hateful toward the entire city should feel free to shut up and go away. If you aren't here it's no sweat to you; if you live here your complaints are easily resolved – just go somewhere else and be happier. Whining about what "they" think is a waste of electrons.

KansasBard 5 years, 9 months ago

If everybody in Lawrence ponied up a buck, we could buy it easily.

25 5 years, 9 months ago

As technology has advanced so that almost all books are available in digital form, we are building a several million dollar library expansion. I'm sure there is some wiggle room in that frivolous budget to buy this for both library patrons to look at as they go and check out books while their Kindle is off for repair.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 9 months ago

everybody pony up a buck? Hey, the dude already burnt us once...

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

re-distribute the wealth, make the working class pay for it so the lawrencians living in their parents basements and on govt grants can enjoy it

riverdrifter 5 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sad_lawrencian 5 years, 9 months ago

How about donating the painting to the City? Has this not been considered?

Currahee 5 years, 9 months ago

Let the market set the price, obviously no one thinks this is worth 30 grand but the dealer himself.

nanimwe 5 years, 9 months ago

Watkins museum should be doing more to get this painting.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

What year was it made? Looks like 1970s or '80s.

irvan moore 5 years, 9 months ago

wonder what the commission is for selling it

stinkybulldog 5 years, 9 months ago

It belongs in Missouri. Why does it belong in Lawrence?

tbaker 5 years, 9 months ago

Hey LJW - Need more info about the painting! When was it painted? Context? Background? Artists inspiration / notes, etc. Get back to work Chad.

Stu Clark 5 years, 9 months ago

Google is your friend. Ulmer was a prominent Kansas City area artist. His widow lives in Bonner Springs.

jehovah_bob 5 years, 9 months ago

He doesn't even have a wiki. How prominent can he be?

buttonwoodartspace 5 years, 9 months ago

A little background on the painting, Bloody Dawn, which Mr. Ulmer indicated was painted depicting "Friday, Aug. 21, 1963 at a point in time when a group of hostages were allowed to leave the Eldridge Hotel for a safer place." He said, "The violence and action which took place in real-life in Kansas and Missouri during those [Civil War] years makes the action in most present-day movies seem mild in contrast."

Making history important and vivid to young people was a concern for Ulmer. He had long attended Civil War re-enactments and recreations of the raid for years prior to starting the painting. He began at those events by making a large number of sketches and taking photographs. In 1992, he said for this painting he reconstructed the scene carefully choosing and arranging his sketches and with attention to proper perspective. He rose early in the mornings while painting the piece to arrive at that spot on Massachusetts by 5:00 AM - the time the actual raid started - in order for all the light and shadows to be accurate.

Mr. Ulmer studied the only two written accounts of how a particular building was to have looked at the time of the raid and position it correctly on the canvas. He used historical photographs of buildings which did not completely burn during the raid - all in an attempt to be as historically accurate as possible.

palmbeachjayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

Looks like we had a painting of the subject matter in 1980 and the city gave it to the museum. See the LJW article from 1980,6848145

jehovah_bob 5 years, 9 months ago

The city won't buy this because it clearly represents a significant event in history, instead of an abstract statement about trees and feminist persecution.

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

AS usual , I woke up stupid this morning I wonder why every one in Lawrence thinks This painting should be GIFTED to Lawrence Or someone ELSE should buy it?

Why are lawrencians so eager to spend other Peoples money, but never spend their own?


I doubt if our city commissioners would spend the money But you can bet two of the 3 county commissioners would Spend your money IN a HEARTBEAT
Besides, You can buy a framed reprint for 300 bucks Downtown, SO TELL THE FORMER LAWERENCIAN art gallery person t TO GO FISH

stinkybulldog 5 years, 9 months ago

This painting belongs in Columbia. Why should it be here in Lawrence? I'm confused? 30k? What the heck?????

pizzapete 5 years, 9 months ago

That's a real nice painting, but the price is way off. A contemporary painting of this sort should be in the $1,200-1,500 range. Good luck finding someone with an extra $30,000 to spend on a painting.

pace 5 years, 9 months ago

I like history and I like art. If I had an extra $30,000 I would buy it and donate it to where it could be viewed by fellow citizens, tourists and kids. Be cool at city hall, the train depot, or the community museum. I don't have the money, but think it would be of value to our community. I could donate some. I wonder if a Kickstarter fund would be applicable.

Waddetreestudio 5 years, 9 months ago

" another hypothectical greek family scam" just like ATM Scaming and charging high fees for using their systems downtown to purchase their goods you need the art appraised to be at that value its only worth $1000 dollars..

Kontum1972 5 years, 9 months ago

mb chuck magrill (sp) @ FREESTATE BREWERY.... the piece should buy would look great in there.....its tax-deductible Chuck...

Kontum1972 5 years, 9 months ago

hey Darin why don't u just use real money aka cash....instead of plastic then u don't have to pay those talks plastic doesn't....u probably cant even work a etch a sketch....

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

Joe Hyde 5 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps a copy of the original painting could be commissioned. But just one copy.

The original painting rightly should be exhibited in an art or historical museum located in the Confederate state from which William Quantrill was born and raised. Exhibited there as a reminder of how skillfully the raid was planned and executed by militant slavery proponents living in that time period.

The one commissioned copy ought to be exhibited in the Douglas County Historical Society building. Exhibited there as a reminder of how Lawrence townspeople -- mostly opponents of slavery's expansion -- suffered from the actions of Quantrill's armed force both during and after the attack.

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

i think downtown lawrence framworks has plenty of limited prints for sale

buttonwoodartspace 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually, they did have one print left in the fall of 2010. All other prints have been sold over the years.

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