Description: A brightly-uniformed soldier lies dead on the forest floor and a bird sits on a branch above him.
Historical Note: Carl Gutherz (1844-1907) arrived in Memphis with his family from Switzerland in 1860, when he was 16. His brother Fred joined the Confederate Army as an engineer. Too young to serve, Carl found work as a draftsman for a Memphis arms foundry and is reported to have smuggled contraband for the Confederate troops. After the war, Carl, determined to make an art career, returned to Europe. He was in Paris from 1869 to 1871, studying for a time at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Upon his return to the United States he became an art instructor in St. Louis, helping to establish the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts. During his second tenure in Paris (1884-1896) he attended the Academie Julian. This poignant depiction of a dead soldier in the woods who can no longer hear the song of a bird, may have been intended to reference both the American Civil War and the Franco Prussian war. The soldier's uniform bears a resemblance to those of the Zouave units, which were adapted from the French elite soldier corps by both Confederate and Union armies. According to art historian Stanton Thomas, the 154th Tennessee Volunteer Regiment in which Gutherz's brother Fred enlisted was also called the Memphis Zouaves.
Institution: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall F. Goodheart 68.11.140
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
Rights: Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images, contact the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.