grandson of an avid hunter and taxidermist, Carl Rungius grew up near Berlin,
Germany. He attended the Berlin Art
School, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the School of Applied Arts before
immigrating to America in 1894 at the age of twenty five. As an art student, he made detailed studies
of the musculature of animals, which informed his later paintings of big
game. Rungius was a sharp observer and
keen hunter with a deep reverence for nature.
a ten year career as a magazine illustrator, during which Rungius travelled out
west multiple times, he turned to easel painting full time. His favorite wilderness destinations included
Wyoming, the Yukon, and the Canadian Rockies.
In 1922, he and his wife Louise constructed a summer home and studio in
Banff, Alberta, named “The Paintbox.”
From this location the artist enjoyed easy access to majestic landscapes
and the animals that inhabited them.
Boy Scouts of America honored Rungius for his dedication to nature and he was
an elected member of the National Academy of Design. Additionally, he held membership in the New
York Zoological Club, the Salmagundi Club, the National Arts Club, the Trail
Riders of the Canadian Rockies, and the Boone and Crockett Club, a big game
conservation organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Over the course of his career, the artist’s
attitude toward the big game he painted changed with the spread of the
conservation movement. Rungius no longer
portrayed the animals as unsuspecting prey, but instead as natural and
comfortable in their element.
counted Theodore Roosevelt as a prime patron, and today the entire contents of
the artist’s studio as well as many of his works can be found in the Glenbow
Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in addition to the National Museum of
Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.