Area lawyers commission portrait of Archbishop Kurtz

Bill Brewer Catholic Church, News

Members of the legal profession who made contributions toward the cost of a portrait of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz met the artist Aug. 14 during a showing of the artwork.

Brad Coriell painted a portrait of the archbishop that now hangs in the Blessed John Paul II Room at the Chancery. Mr. Coriell is an award-winning artist who has earned local, state, and national commissions over the last 50 years, as well as commissions in 39 countries.

Father David Boettner, Diocese of Knoxville moderator of the curia and vicar general, thanked the attorneys and others who came to meet Mr. Coriell.

“I just really appreciate this gift they made to the diocese to help us capture a part of this history and our heritage by honoring Archbishop Kurtz with this portrait,” Father Boettner said. “I think that’s a great way to start putting together those images of the diocese’s history, so that’s a great step in that direction.”

Meeting the artist were Judge Charles Susano; Chancellor John Weaver; diocesan attorney Edward Phillips; and attorneys Sid Gilreath, Gerard Jabaley, and David Wedekind.

With the portrait of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz are (from left) Gerard Jabaley, David Wedekind, Edward Phillips, Judge Charles Susano, Sid Gilreath, Chancellor John Weaver, and Father David Boettner.

With the portrait of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz are (from left) Gerard Jabaley, David Wedekind, Edward Phillips, Judge Charles Susano, Sid Gilreath, Chancellor John Weaver, and Father David Boettner.

Mr. Coriell said that his attorney, Mr. Gilreath, “had the original idea of ‘doing the bishop’s portrait,’” meaning Bishop Richard F. Stika. But in a meeting with Bishop Stika, Knoxville’s third bishop said he would first rather have a painting done of Knoxville’s second bishop.

“He said, ‘Mine can come later—let’s get the archbishop’s painting first,” Mr. Coriell said. “So that’s what Bishop Stika asked for.”

After funds were raised for his commission, Mr. Coriell began to get some sketches together after Christmas last year for Archbishop Kurtz to look at.

Mr. Coriell worked off of one photo of the archbishop to complete the painting, “but I kept sending him proofs all along for him to okay the color of the vestments and all that and to see that it was just the way he wanted it,” he said.

The painting required a last-minute change when Mr. Coriell realized he had painted Archbishop Kurtz’s episcopal ring on his left hand.

“It’s a funny story, but towards the end as I was finishing my color washes, I realized I had his ring on the wrong hand, and no one caught that, not even Archbishop Kurtz, so I got that switched real quick.”

Archbishop Kurtz and Bishop Stika approved the painting “all the way through to the very end,” Mr. Coriell said.

Mr. Phillips said that once he became diocesan attorney, he attended meetings in the Diocese of Nashville every three months and noticed the portraits of bishops the diocese has there.

“It was striking to me, their portraits of the bishops,” Mr. Phillips said.

Mr. Phillips learned from Mr. Gilreath about Mr. Coriell, and the idea for Archbishop Kurtz’s painting was born.

“Sid and I got together and thought it would be a good idea to get the Catholic lawyers and judges in town, and there’s quite a few of us, to make a donation to the Church to commission the painting, so ultimately that’s how this occurred,” Mr. Phillips said.

Also contributing to the painting were Richard Hollow, Luis Bustamante, Timothy McLaughlin, Christopher Hall, Judge Tim Irwin, and Ronald Attanasio.