Der Rittmeister Militaria, LLC. Content Pages: Jack Hunter Introduction, Books and Paintings.
Updated on
29 July 2014.               Contact us @:rittmeister@tampabay.rr.com
 

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Our good friend Jack D. Hunter passed away on 13 April 2009, at the age of eighty-seven (he would have been eighty-eight in June).

I miss him.  He remains an extremely important influence on my life,
as well as for many WWI collectors and readers.



 

 Books - Artwork - Associated Items
Jack D. Hunter - Author
The Blue Max

From time to time we are able to offer some examples of the art work of Jack D. Hunter. Jack for the most painted for relaxation. However he was so talented that there was always a demand for his work. His form of relaxation remains in great demand several years after his death.

These are for the most part consignment items. I let several of his original pieces get away from me over the years and when possible I try to buy them back. Or some of the other examples that are offered to me. But in the interest of sanity in our home and a lack of wall space to accommodate all of the paintings that come my way I simply can't have them all.

This is your opportunity to acquire some of the finest examples of a life long love of art that Jack had. Enjoy and perhaps get one  (Or more) for your collection!

 

16-391 ORIGINAL PAINTING FEATURING TWO JASTA 11 FOKKER Dr. 1's (TRIPLANES) AND ONE BRITISH NIEUPORT 17c by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world. Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. His more commonly-seen artwork was larger, while he occasionally produced a smaller size. Today we are offering the larger painting, which measures 19 ˝" x 24 ˝" within its frame. The simple, elegant black molded frame is accented by an inner, gold trim band. The painting’s single gray matte provides a subtle contrast to the colorful action of its subject, a pair of Jagdstaffel (Jasta) 11's Fokker Dr. 1's (the legendary Triplanes) engaging a British Nieuport 17c. The Nieuport 17c was a very nimble and accomplished aircraft. While it was a bit unusual for the RFC (later the RAF) to employ a French airplane, the British aircraft industry was hard-pressed to produce enough aircraft to supply an expanding air service, AND replace the massive, daily losses. Sheer necessity required that they purchase 527 Nieuport 17's from their French allies. Frankly, I rather enjoy seeing a Nieuport 17c here rather than the rather ubiquitous SE 5's or Sopwith Camels. The plane’s graceful lines and its fuselage’s unusual side construction make the aircraft uniquely French even when arrayed in British colors. British Squadron Numbers 1, 6, 11, 29, 32, 40, and 60 employed this aircraft. It is also interesting to note that top British air aces Albert Ball and Billy Bishop (1894-1956) favored the sleek Nieuport 17. [Ball was the fourth-leading British ace. Even though he was killed in 1917, he had won forty-five victories. His final air battle was with Lothar von Richthofen. Von Richthofen’s plane was shot up, so he withdrew to his airfield. Although the German High Command credited Richthofen with shooting Ball down, it was highly-unlikely. Ball evidently emerged from a cloud bank upside down following his pursuit of Richthofen, then crashed before he could recover. Ball was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. Bishop’s total of seventy-two victories made him Great Britain’s top WW I ace]. The painting reveals that the Nieuport 17's pilot has just dispatched one triplane. The wounded Fokker is smoking and headed for the ground. The remaining Dr. 1 is preparing to engage the Nieuport. Both triplanes are dressed in Jasta 11's famous colors. Too often people tend to forget that only 320 Fokker Triplanes were produced during WW I. In spite of what movies such as 2006's Flyboys depict, entire squadrons of red triplanes did NOT make up 90% of the Imperial German Air Service. Also, the Dr. 1 was not an easy airplane for a novice to fly. An experienced pilot like Manfred von Richthofen could do amazing things with the plane. It took great skill, however. While the plane was extremely maneuverable, it was not speedy. [The Fokker D. VII was considered Germany’s finest WW I combat aircraft, with approximately 3,300 examples produced. Manfred von Richthofen was involved in its testing phase, but died before the airplanes reached the squadron level. The airplane was specifically prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. All surviving examples were required to be destroyed or turned over to Allied authorities]. The painting’s reverse sports a typewritten description by Jack D. Hunter, describing its action in great detail. The description ends with his signature. This beautiful painting is a must for any collection, especially since it features two airplanes from WW I Germany’s most famous jasta. $2,195.00 

 

 

 

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16-392 ORIGINAL PAINTING FEATURING ONE ALBATROS D. Va AND ONE SE-5 by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world. Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. His more commonly-seen artwork was larger, while he occasionally produced a smaller size. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller and more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 14 3/8" x 19 3/8." The painting’s subject is an encounter between an Albatros D. Va and a British SE-5. The Albatros is in the foreground and the SE-5 is in the background. The British plane is nosing down on his way to the ground. If you look carefully, you will note that some of the guy wires have become detached and the English bird is mortally wounded. In the lower left corner we see where Jack has signed the painting. The reverse features a hand printed note by Jack D. Hunter describing the painting’s action. The description ends with his signature. This beautiful painting would be outstanding in any collection. $1,495.00

 

 

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16-393 ORIGINAL JACK D. HUNTER PAINTING FEATURING AMERICAN SE 5 ATTACKING FOKKER D. VII PAIR. My good friend, the late Jack Hunter, was both an accomplished writer (author of the legendary WW I aviation novel The Blue Max) and painter. The first example of his artwork appeared with the release of The Blue Max’s 1st edition. The publisher would not pay for a color dust jacket, so Jack volunteered to provide the artwork. This way his first published effort had the benefit of a more professional-looking dust jacket.
Jack continued to paint for more than forty years. He did so mostly for relaxation and to stimulate his mind in between those times when he was writing books. His painting is prized by collectors and has appeared in several museums. In Jack’s paintings, the airplanes were the "stars." He worked very hard to capture all of an airplane’s correct details. Before starting on a new painting, he first produced what he termed "work sketches." Many of these were in color. He endeavored to correctly portray ALL his subject aircraft’s historical details before he began the full painting. Even if he had previously produced paintings of Fokker Triplanes, he still painted a new "work sketch" to ensure its story’s details were absolutely accurate. For Jack, his painting was an extension of his writing: he always was telling a story. He usually included a typed or handwritten description of each painting’s action. These generally were attached to its reverse, to help its new owner understand the painting and its particular airplanes.
Our action in this painting occurs during the summer of 1918. America has been in the war for more than a year. Not only are American Armies taking their place in the trenches, but American pilots are joining their French comrades at the Front. When we think of WW I’s U.S. Army Air Service, we more often picture French Nieuports and Spads (as flown by top American ace Eddie Rickenbacker). Yet Americans also flew British aircraft. Here we see a bold American in a British SE 5, diving on a pair of unsuspecting Fokker D. VII’s. [His plane has no squadron markings, but a number 17 appears on the fuselage. Its tail number is F-875. One can see shell casings coming from the top wing-mounted machine gun]! The American has already put one of the Germans out of commission. As Jack recounts in his description, the American pilot is diving under the two and next will determine if he can pursue the survivor, or should retire for another day. The crippled D. VII is smoking heavily on its way to the earth.
The two finest WW I British airplanes were the Sopwith Camel and the SE 5. The Fokker D. VII arguably was WW I’s best fighter airplane. It certainly was the best the Germans had to offer. The Allies thought so highly of the D. VII that the Treaty of Versailles obliged Germany to hand over any that were still flyable, and not build any more. In addition to the D. VII’s superior flying characteristics, it was powered by a high-horsepower Mercedes-Benz engine, which gave it tremendous straight line and diving speed.
Jack primarily produced two different sized paintings. This is the larger of the two. The painting is single-matted. It sports a simple black frame, and its overall measurements are 19 ˝" x 24 ˝." This is a fine opportunity to obtain an original piece of artwork from a multi talented artist. $1,995.00 

 

 

 

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16-394 ORIGINAL JACK D. HUNTER PAINTING FEATURES ENGLISH DH 2 SHOOTING DOWN FOKKER E III (EINDECKER). My good friend, the late Jack Hunter, was both an accomplished writer (author of the legendary WW I aviation novel The Blue Max) and painter. The first example of his artwork appeared with the release of The Blue Max’s 1st edition. The publisher would not pay for a color dust jacket, so Jack volunteered to provide the artwork. This way his first published effort had the benefit of a more professional-looking dust jacket.
Jack continued to paint for more than forty years. He did so mostly for relaxation and to stimulate his mind in between those times when he was writing books. His painting is prized by collectors and has appeared in several museums. In Jack’s paintings, the airplanes were the "stars." He worked very hard to capture all of an airplane’s correct details. Before starting on a new painting, he first produced what he termed "work sketches." Many of these were in color. He endeavored to correctly portray ALL his subject aircraft’s historical details before he began the full painting. Even if he had previously produced paintings of Fokker Triplanes in the past, he still painted a new "work sketch" to ensure its story’s details were absolutely accurate. For Jack, his painting was an extension of his writing: he always was telling a story. He usually included a typed or handwritten description of each painting’s action. These generally were attached to its reverse, to help its new owner understand the painting and its particular airplanes.
Our action in this painting occurs during April 1916. The Fokker E. III had been Germany’s primary single-seater airplane during 1915 and through early 1916. Aces like Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke had made their reputations in it, becoming the first Imperial German Air Service pilots to be awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite. As was seen countless times during the air war, new technology was constantly appearing that made previous aircraft obsolete. The Fokker E. III was rendered obsolete by the likes of the British DH 2 (whose tail number is B7313). The latter was a very unusual airplane, as the engine and propeller were located behind the pilot.
In this painting, which is a vertical presentation, the Fokker E. III is beginning its final descent toward earth. The British pilot is looking down at his vanquished prey. A fine cloud cover appears above the planes, while a multicolored battlefield is below. Jack Hunter’s signature appears on the painting’s right lower corner.
Jack primarily produced two different sized paintings. This is the smaller of the two. The painting is single-matted. It sports a simple black frame, and its overall measurements are 14 ˝" x 19 ˝." This is a fine opportunity to obtain an original piece of artwork from a multi talented artist. $1,495.00 

 

 

 

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16-397 ORIGINAL PAINTING - U. S. SALMSON TWO-SEATER FENDING-OFF PFALZ D-XII’S ATTACK by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world. Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 14 ˝" x 19 ˝."The painting’s subject is a duel between an American Salmson Observation Airplane and a Pfalz D. XII. In the action is the Salmson, decked out in camouflage and sporting the U.S. Army Air Service Roundel. The observer in the airplane’s back is manning his twin machine guns. The Pfalz D. XII has been critically wounded and is heading for a forced landing. The Pfalz D. XII was first brought into service in March 1918, at about the same time as the better-known Fokker D. VII. The Fokker was the better aircraft, but the Pfalz was still produced in large numbers (about 800). Although it was not as popular, it was a competent airplane. Jack’s signature appears in the lower left corner. The reverse features a hand-printed note by Jack D. Hunter describing the painting’s action. The description ends with his signature. Such a beautiful painting would make an outstanding addition to any collection. $1,495.00

 

 

 

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16-398 ORIGINAL PAINTING - BRITISH BE-12 PURSUED BY TWO ALBATROS FIGHTER-PLANES by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world. Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 14 ˝" x 19 ˝."The painting’s subject is a British BE-12. It was a single-seater scout plane that was in use in the summer of 1916. The airplane was no match for the Albatros (most likely an Albatros D. II or possibly an Albatros D. III) single-seaters that were just coming on line. In the distance two of the Albatros fighters are headed toward the British airplane. The airplane’s and pilot’s details are quite striking. The British aircraft’s tail number, "6537," is quite evident. Jack’s signature appears in the lower left corner. The reverse features a hand-printed note by Jack D. Hunter describing the painting’s action. The description ends with his signature. Such a beautiful painting would make an outstanding addition to any collection. $1,495.00

 

 

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16-400 ORIGINAL PAINTING - FOKKER D. VII. SHOOTING DOWN BRITISH S. E. 5. by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. His more commonly-seen artwork was larger, while he occasionally produced a smaller size. Today we are offering the larger painting, which measures 19 ˝" x 24 ˝" within its frame. The simple, elegant, black, molded frame is accented by an inner, gold trim band, with a single, off-white matte providing a subtle contrast. The painting’s subject is a gray-colored Fokker D. V. II. The pilot looks on as his victim, an RAF S. E. 5, appears to be fatally hit. The S. E. 5. is zooming up and trailing a large plume of smoke. It is only a matter of time before the S. E. 5 noses down for his flight’s end. We cannot see the British pilot, so we cannot determine if he could still control his plane. Hopefully, he will be able to bring his plane to the ground the "easy" way.
Without a doubt, the Fokker D. V. II was the finest single-seater fighter aircraft that Germany produced during WW I. It replaced the Fokker Dr 1. and the Albatros D. V. as Germany’s front-line fighter plane. The D. V. II. was personally endorsed by Manfred von Richthofen. The airplanes started arriving at the front a month after his death. More than 3,300 examples were built. So deadly were they that the Versailles treaty required Germany to surrender all D. VII’s to the Allied authorities. It is said that the final commander of JG 1, Hermann Göring, ordered all of his planes to be destroyed rather than surrender them.
The S. E. 5 (Scout Experimental 5) first reached the front in March 1917, and more than 5,200 were built. The S. E. 5. and the Sopwith Camel were the best known British fighter planes.
Jack’s signature appears in the lower right corner. (The reverse does NOT display Mr. Hunter’s customary description of his painting’s action). Such a beautiful painting would make an outstanding addition to any collection. $2,095.00

 

 

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16-401 ORIGINAL PAINTING - ALBATROS C. III & BRISTOL "D" SCOUT by JACK D. HUNTER.The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 14 ˝" x 19 ˝."
The action of this painting shows a German Albatros C. III two seater airplane battling a British Bristol "D" Scout "Bullet." The C. III was one of Germany’s premiere two-seaters during the WW I. It was used for a variety of roles, including in observation squadrons, light bombers, and ground attacks. It was produced by Albatros, the well known firm that also produced some highly effective single-seater fighter planes that saw extensive service with front line jastas.
The Bristol "D" was one of the earliest single-seater airplanes the RFC used. It was used from 1914-1916. Approximately 374 planes were built. (They were actually built before machine guns were fitted to airplanes). The "D" Scout was obsolete by 1916, and was replaced by Sopwith Camels and S.E. 5's.
In the painting, the C. III is the central focus as the gunner observes his handiwork. The Bristol is nosing down and smoking heavily. The painting’s simple black frame sports a small gold trim band. It has a single green matte. Jack’s signature appears in the painting’s lower right corner.
The reverse displays a printed description of the action written and signed by Jack Hunter. $1,495.00

 

 

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16-402 ORIGINAL PAINTING - AMERICAN SALMSON SAL 2-A-2 - by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. His more commonly-seen artwork was larger, while he occasionally produced a smaller size. Today we are offering the larger painting, which measures 19 ˝" x 24 ˝" within its frame. The simple, elegant, black, molded frame is accented by an inner, gold trim band, with a single, blue matte providing a subtle contrast.
The subject of the painting is a French-built Salmson SAL 2-A-2, flown by a U.S. Army Air Service crew. With the USA’s late entry into WW I, the bulk of the flown airplanes were either British or French-manufactured. Such was the case with the Salmson SAL 2-A-2. About 3,200 planes were built. They first came into service in 1917, and were the primary two-seaters used by the French Army during the WW I’s final years.
In the painting’s action, the Americans are in full battle with a pair of Albatros D. Va’s. The Salmson’s gunner is shown with his twin machine guns blazing. If you look closely enough, you can see the shell casings are flying. One of the Albatros’s is smoking as it descends. Bits and pieces of it are trailing back. The other D. Va is flying nearby.
Jack Hunter’s signature appears in the lower right corner. On the reverse is a typewritten description of the action, which is also signed by Jack Hunter. $1,995.00

 

 

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16-405 ORIGINAL PAINTING - BRITISH BE 2c (IDENTIFIED AS A BE 12) TAKING OFF FROM AIRFIELD by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 14 ˝" x 19 ˝." The painting’s action depicts a British BE 2c, which Jack misidentifies as a BE 12. I find this interesting, as Jack heavily researched his subjects before he began a painting. Nevertheless, we find that he has identified the plane as a BE 12, a single-seater fighter that was not used until 1916. Instead, it is the BE 2c, which preceded the BE 12 and was a two-seater observation version. We can verify our correction of Jack in two ways. First, and most important, two men are seated in the airplane as it takes off from its airfield. We can also clearly identify the two separate sections in which they are seated. Second, Jack writes that the scene is from 1915. The BE 2c had been in service since 1912, while the BE 12 would not join the RFC until August 1916.
We see Jack’s signature in the painting’s lower left portion. The painting’s simple black frame sports a small gold trim band. It has a single, blue matte. The painting’s reverse displays a very small yellow tag on which Jack describes the painting’s action. Another tag also appears, on which the original owner states that this is a very early Hunter. $1,495.00

 

 

 

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16-407 ORIGINAL PAINTING - GOTHA G. V. BOMBER ATTACKED BY SE-5A by JACK D. HUNTER. The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite "Jack" stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 19 ˝" x 24 ˝." It sports a single-matte. The painting’s subject is a German Gotha G. V. Bomber flying over Southeast England. It has become separated from the rest of its squadron, and is heading for home.
The Gotha was one of Germany’s best-known WW I bombers. Considered a heavy bomber, it was produced in three variations: the G. V., the G. Va., and the G. Vb. A total of 205 G. V.’s was built between 1917 and 1918. According to Jack Hunter, they carried twelve bombs and flew at 92 mph. The bomber carried a crew of three and had multiple machine guns to protect itself. The Gotha had two engines to propel it. It was a "pusher" aircraft, meaning its propellers were located aft of the engines to "push" the airplane.
In the painting, the Gotha is being attacked by a SE-5a coming from above. Arguably, the SE-5 and Sopwith Camel were Britain’s best-known WW I fighter planes. Nearly 5,200 SE-5's, SE-5a’s and SE-5b’s were built. The SE-5 was flown by many top British and American aces. (An original SE-5 can be seen at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio). The first SE-5's reached the front in March 1917, and were flown by the RFC’s famous 56th Squadron. One of its unique features was a single machine gun mounted in front of the pilot on its cowl. A second was mounted on the top wing.
Jack’s signature appears in the painting’s lower right corner. The painting’s reverse displays a printed description of the action written and signed by him.
$1,995.00 
 

 

 

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Jack Hunter was an old and dear friend of ours. He has had his "own" page on our Web Site from its inception in 1996.  His world-famous, best-seller, The Blue Max, hit the market in 1964 and was a huge inspiration for me.  It fueled what became a life-long interest in the Great War in general, and its War in the Air in particular.  Jack passed away on 13 April 2009.  He is sorely missed.

The Blue Max was the first of SEVENTEEN books Jack wrote over a span of five decades. I remember him telling me how he wrote "The Blue Max" at a small desk in his bedroom.  For seven months, he'd write each night after a full day's work at Du Pont, scribbling long-hand with a pencil on a legal pad because his typewriter was too noisy and kept the wife and kids awake.  What sustained him was the awareness that (to that date) no one had published a serious, definitive novel about World War I aviation from the German point of view -- even in Germany.  This fact, plus Jack's intimate knowledge of World War I aircraft, Germany and the German people, gave him the temerity to try to fill this literary and historical gap.   All the way he was cheered on by his beloved wife, Tommy (They were married for sixty-two years.  She passed away in 2006).

In 1963 E. P. Dutton, the New York publishing house, agreed to publish The Blue Max. Its first day of publication was 16 March 1964. Dutton ordered 5,000 copies printed in that 1st edition, then the standard order for an unknown author.  Within two weeks of publication however, Darryl Zanuck, chief of 20th Century Fox, personally acquired the rights to make a major motion picture of the work.  To capitalize on this, Dutton immediately authorized Bantam Books to issue the novel as a paperback - and the work ultimately became an INTERNATIONAL best-seller, with more than a MILLION copies produced in all  major languages, in hard and soft cover and audio.

Meanwhile the 5,000 Dutton 1st editions disappeared, and seldom reappear on the market. They are very expensive.  (I am embarrassed to admit what I paid for mine some ten years ago) and VERY difficult to find!  

 

1. Autor (Author)

Jack D. Hunter was the author of what most enthusiasts of the Air War consider the definitive novel about World War I aviation, The Blue Max. This book was made into a movie of the same name in the mid 1960's starring George Peppard, Ursula Andress and James Mason. Jack had been fascinated by WW1 airplanes since he first saw the silent film Wings as a young boy. He grew up reading about early aviation, building model airplanes, and talking to men who actually flew during the Great War. Eventually, he combined his enthusiasm for early aviation with personal WW II experiences to create his first novel.

He was born in Hamilton, Ohio on June 4, 1921, and went to various schools in New York and Pennsylvania, getting his BA in Journalism from Penn State University in 1943. His aptitude with languages led him into U.S. Counter-Intelligence during WW II. He went behind the lines to infiltrate the Nazi Party's attempts to set up a clandestine organization to keep itself alive after the end of the war. His success in this endeavor gave him the basis for several of his spy novels, particularly The Expendable Spy. His close association with Nazi officials during this time also gave him insights into what fueled Nazism's rise to power and its birth among the upheavals in German society following World War One. His striving to understand how Nazism seduced so many Germans led him to the creation of his most fascinating character, Bruno Stachel, the WW I German ace and anti-hero of The Blue Max. Jack passed away on 13 April 2009 at his home in St. Augustine, FL.

The Blue Max is actually the first of a trilogy about Stachel, whose character is much darker in the books than in the movie. Unlike the movie, Stachel is very much alive by the end of The Blue Max. His story continues in The Blood Order, which details Stachel's involvement with the Nazi party during the days of the Munich Putsch through the Nazi rise to power in the 1930's, and finishes in The Tin Cravat, which details the early times of World War II. {A militaria note: Each of the books is named for a military decoration. A Blue Max is WW I Germany's highest award, the Pour le Mérite. The Blood Order was given by Hitler to Nazis who had participated in the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923; and "The Tin Cravat" was the nickname of the highest WW II German honor, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.}

He was the author of 17 novels, with a close to 60-year career in print and broadcast journalism, military and Congressional service, corporate public relations, book editing and aviation art. Two of the novels, The Blue Max and One of Us Works for Them, were sold to the movies. A third, The Expendable Spy, won the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award of the Mystery Writers of America. Both The Flying Cross and Slingshot are under option by film producers; and eight of the titles were recorded and released unabridged by Blackstone Audio Books in 1995-97.

Jack was a newspaper reporter, rewrite-man, editor, columnist and radio newscaster for eight years. Next came 22 years as an advertising and public relations executive with the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware (like his father and younger brother). He also served as special counsel and chief speech writer for members of the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. for six years. He was senior editor of Serendipity Press, book publishers, for two years. He also served as a writing coach and editorial consultant for the Florida Times Union and St. Augustine Record for 10 years.

He married Shirley Thompson Hunter (Tommy, as she was known to her friends, passed away in 2006) in 1944 and they had four children: twin daughters Lee and Lyn, daughter Jill, and son Jack D., Jr., and three granddaughters. Jack made his home in St. Augustine, Florida.

2. Maler (painter)

[Original Water Color depicting a Scene from The Blue Max]

In addition to his writing career, Jack was a professional artist specializing in mixed media paintings of historic moments in early aviation. His work is displayed at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, in the U. S. Air Force Museum at Eglin AF Base, Florida, and in many other galleries and private collections in the U. S. and abroad. At Der Rittmeister Militaria we are proud to have several of Jack's original paintings displayed in our home. We acquired our first in the 1990's. 

3. Freund (friend)

The Webmaster asked me to share with you how I became privileged to call Jack Hunter my friend. Some years back my wife and I happened to be visiting an antique mall in St. Augustine, Florida. Outside one of the shops I saw displayed some of the most wonderful paintings of WW I aircraft that I had ever seen. When I looked up from those paintings, I saw that the name of the shop was THE BLUE MAX. Intrigued, I walked in and was greeted by a lively, friendly lady. After I'd looked around the shop, I finally asked the burning question, "Why in the world did you name your shop THE BLUE MAX?

I was stunned when this lady said, with a twinkle in her eye, "Because my husband wrote the book!"

I was absolutely bowled over. As a high school kid in the 1960's I had seen the movie starring George Peppard and James Mason. This had led me to the book, which was even better than the movie, and sparked what has become a life-long interest in WW I aviation. Now I was meeting the author's wife, and finding out that Jack Hunter had also done the paintings that were on display. My wife bought me both of the displayed paintings (originals) for me as a birthday present (do I have a great wife or what?) and Mrs. Hunter encouraged me to call Jack, saying he loved to hear from his readers.

I finally worked up the nerve to call, and after an hour of intense conversation, I felt that I had known Jack all my life. We soon arranged to meet and I had the privilege of going to his home and seeing where he wrote and painted. Over the years I acquired more of his paintings and enjoyed the pleasure of his company, spending hours talking about anything and everything.

What I appreciated most about Jack was his love of WW I aviation and his genuine desire to meet people who shared that interest. Like me, Jack's love affair with the old planes was sparked by a movie. In his case it was Wings, from the 1920's. Jack had the advantage of speaking with the men who had flown during the Great War, while they were still young and those experiences were fresh in their minds. As a young man, he even briefly met Ernst Udet at the Cleveland Air Races, in which the future Luftwaffe official appeared. Today, none of those gallant airmen are alive. We do not have the same opportunities that Jack had to speak to the men and find out what it was like fighting for your life in those early crates.

Jack maintained a sense of wonder about WW I aviation and the study of it fully eighty years after he first began. He got as excited as a kid when he discussed it.  This was tempered with the wisdom of having lived among the people who produced Germany's Great War aviators. He was a generous and caring man to all who knew him and met him. He was truly a gentleman of the old school. As I grow older, if I can show half the class and grace that Jack did, I will feel I have accomplished something.

I was blessed with the best father that ever lived, and I would not have traded him for anything. But, had I needed a father, I would have welcomed Jack Hunter. This is the greatest compliment that I could pay Jack. I consider myself truly fortunate to have called him my good and faithful friend.

-Ken Greenfield-

Several people have asked about the availability of Jack's books on audio tape.  Here is the address:

Blackstone Audio Books
P. O. Box 969
Ashland, OR 99520

 

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