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Carl Rungius
(Germany, 1869 - 1959)

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By situating animals in their natural environment--a practice new to painting in early twentieth-century North America--Rungius combined wildlife and landscape painting for a unique statement on the Western environment and its inhabitants. His work represents an Eden-like world where the human imprint on the landscape is invisible, and his legacy of accomplished yet romantic imagery has helped shape the idea and image of the North American wilderness.

From an early age, Rungius was interested in hunting and knew he wanted to be an animal painter. In late nineteenth-century Germany, access to the remaining forests and undeveloped land was limited, and there were few hunting opportunities for the average citizen. For Rungius, whose ideas about America were fueled by popular literature, the West represented the freedom to both hunt and paint on a scale in accordance with his ambition. When he received an invitation from his uncle, Dr. Clemens Fulda, in 1894 to hunt Moose in Maine, Rungius leaped at the opportunity. The visit would change his life.

In 1895 a young Rungius traveled to Wyoming, which for him was an exotic experience. Long vistas, majestic mountains, and big game were plentiful. He first focused on elk, a species related to the red deer stag of Europe, and for five months he stalked game and made detailed studies of his trophies. In 1896, the year after he first traveled to Wyoming, Rungius immigrated to the United States.

Early in his North American career, hunters, and naturalists enlisted Carl Rungius to illustrate their magazines, books, and campaigns to conserve endangered animals. Around 1909, Rungius stopped illustrating to pursue his career as an easel painter full-time. But his illustrations were reproduced long after they were created, separate from their original context. This indicates the important role his illustrations played in circulating information about science and ethical hunting. Rungius reached a large public through his illustrations. In early twentieth-century North America, where there were few major zoos and photography was still in its infancy, book and periodical illustrations were the public's main source of information concerning wildlife.


Harco Gallery strives to update our online inventory in a timely manner, but if you are looking for a specific work not in our online inventory, contact us.


Lord of the Canyon


Among the Crags


Out of the Canyon


The Traveler



Late 19th and early 20th century American art with an emphasis on the 1930s since 1977
international fine print dealers association