Kurtz, who works out of his art studio in downtown Grand Haven and his secluded retreat in northern Michigan, said it takes approximately two months to paint some of his largest paintings. He works with “a good historian,” he said, and reads 8-10 books before painting a site.
“I have to make it accurate,” Kurtz said.
Kurtz graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a Master of Fine Arts degree, with a focus on abstract painting. However, a trip to West Virginia in 2009 took his life down a completely new road. A few historians and preservationists took Kurtz on a tour of an endangered battlefield, and his interest in art history turned into a passion for American history — with a focus on the Civil War era and the ability to preserve old battlefield sites.
“I offered to do a painting of the battlefield site so people have a better understanding of what happened there,” Kurtz said.
The painting was a battlefield fight on the same piece of land that developers wanted to build 129 homes. The painting and signed prints made from the original painting were sold to raise enough money to buy the battlefield site from the developers, and it was successful.
“It’s a great piece of history that would have been ruined,” Kurtz said.
Kurtz will be the featured artist at the Fire Barn Gallery in Grand Haven — where his exhibit, “Cubism to Realism: Paintings by Tim Kurtz,” will be shown beginning at Thursday through Feb. 4. He will be at the gallery on the exhibit’s opening night, from 6-9 p.m., to talk about his paintings.
The gallery is at 18 N. Fifth St. It is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and admission is free.
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