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Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (American, 1869-1959)


Also known as:  Carl Rungius; Rungius, Carl; Rungius, Carl N. A.

Birth Place: Berlin (Berlin state, Germany)

With an artistic career that spanned over 50 years, Carl Rungius can arguably be called America's greatest wildlife painter. He had extensive artistic training in his native Germany and was already demonstrating his skill as a painter when he migrated to New York in 1894. There he found work as an illustrator, but quickly established his career as an easel painter. He was elected to the National Academy of Design as an associate member in 1913 and gained full membership in 1920. By then he made several trips to the rugged territory of the Canadian Northwest and the mountains of Wyoming and Montana. He was an avid big game hunter and had early on learned much about animal anatomy from his grandfather, who was a taxidermist.

Rungius painted from life, and he combined his two great loves, hunting and art, on long trips in the wilderness. He sketched on site, often using the big horn sheep, elks, and moose that he brought down as subjects. He achieved highly realistic studies and paintings of his animal subjects by posing the felled animals with the use of ropes tied to trees. While he devoted himself to wildlife art throughout his career, his style evolved from precise realism to a more loose impressionistic style toward the end of his life. He produced many sketches, both in pencil and oil, for his larger complete paintings.

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