Description: A weary bearded soldier sits beside his horse on a fallen log, his hand to his forehead. Other figures appear in the background. The pink sky suggests a sunset scene.
Historical Note: This painting of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his horse by Swiss-born artist Carl Gutherz (1844-1907) portrays the Confederate general after the April 9, 1865 battle at Appomattox, the final engagement of the war in Virginia. Gutherz positions the general on a large fallen tree, a possible allusion to the fall of the Confederacy. This painting is thought to have been exhibited at the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Since it is not in the catalog of the Fine Arts Department or the Womans' Department, it is likely to have been displayed in Confederate Memorial Hall. Art historian Stanton Thomas has suggested that this was an effort by Carl Gutherz to create a grand history painting for the Lost Cause audience, an idea possibly suggested by Gutherz's uncle-in-law, John Tyler Morgan, U.S. Senator from Alabama. However, the portrait of the former Confederate commander as tired and vulnerable rather than confident and heroic may not have pleased the public for which it was intended.
Institution: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Gift of Marshall and Elizabeth Goodheart 86.22.560
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.