Von Tempsky by Lester Hall
Handsigned EditionImage size in millimetres: 290 x 450
Studio printed digital print signed by the printmaker iin pencil
Gustav Von Tempskey was a Prussian cavalry officer who travelled to United States in search of gold and learnt the art of “Injun Fighting” with the pistol and “Bowie Knife.” Von Tempsky sailed on to New Zealand where he became a leader of the “Forest Rangers”. He was known as Manu Ra or “One Hundred Birds” by Maori who said it was if he was everywhere. A gifted painter his beautiful artworks of his adventures in the bush seem utterly at odds with his penchant for fighting Maori at close range and in their own space. At first glance this image of him might seem decidedly romantic. However the face is taken from a photo of the actual man and his tattoos are actually based on his artworks. The devil may care look to him is very true to who we understand him to have been. He died rescuing another fighter, some say chasing the Victoria Cross that Charles Heaphy had won fighting alongside him at an earlier engagement. He was a prized catch for Maori and it is reported that because of the esteem they held his war like nature in he enjoyed the ceremony of a funeral pyre rather than being eaten. His sword and personal belongings were kept and have been hidden every since.
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