Sept. 23, 2010
Luther College has received the gift of a late 19th century bust portrait of Martin Luther. The artwork was donated in August by Bogus Ostrowski, father of Luther sophomore Elliott Ostrowski, of Kenilworth, Ill.
Ostrowski, an antiques collector, happened across the print of Martin Luther through the course of his work. The lithograph was so well preserved that Ostrowski had it mounted, reframed and donated to Luther.
The large lithograph, which stands 19 x 25 inches, was printed in Chicago by Kurz and Allison in the 1880s. Luther is conducting background research on the painting. The original artist remains unknown.
Kurz and Allison, like other publishing houses of the time, employed hundreds of artists whose designs were printed and sold in limited runs of a few hundred.
Kurz and Allison is best known for a series of iconic chromolithographs depicting Civil War battles, but they also published more standard genre scenes, landscapes and portraits. Art historians suggest that religious works, such as the Luther bust, were marketed to western communities that were somewhat isolated from religious centers.
The print will be on display near the circulation desk in Luther College's Preus Library, alongside other recent acquisitions.