Sketch for Silvertip, graphite on paper, 8 x 11 inches
( 1869–1959 )
Despite being one of the most famous painters of North American wildlife, Carl Rungius was born in Rixdorf near Berlin, Germany, in 1869. Rungius developed an early interest in studying and hunting wild animals, due in large part to the influence of his father and grandfather, both amateur naturalists and taxidermists. At a young age Rungius also showed a talent for drawing, and pursued his formal artistic training in Berlin at the Berlin Art School, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the School of Applied Arts. Following his education, Rungius began his career as a romantic painter in Germany.
As fortune would have it, in 1894 Rungius’s uncle invited him to travel to Maine for a hunting trip. It was then that Rungius’s passion for hunting big game and painting truly came together, as he found his inspiration for both in the wildlife of North America. Enchanted, Rungius spent a summer hunting in Wyoming before moving permanently to New York in 1897.
Rungius’s studio in New York allowed him easy access to the art scene of New York City as well as the wilderness of the Northeast and the Canadian Rockies. In 1904 Rungius traveled the Yukon with Charles Sheldon, and in 1910 he traveled to Banff, Alberta for the first time. In Banff Rungius found the ideal location for painting and hunting, particularly with the prevalence of the bighorn sheep in the region. Rungius built a studio there in 1921, nicknamed ‘The Paintbox,’ and visited annually until his death in 1959.
Big Horn Sheep on Wilcox Pass (1912)