Rungius studied at the Berlin Art Academy between 1888 and
1890. While in Berlin, he frequently sketched animals at the
Berlin Zoo. His dedication to painting animals with anatomical
accuracy coupled with his determination to learn and paint
each animal’s mannerisms and habitat made Rungius a
well-respected wildlife artist. Rungius first visited the
United States in 1894, and traveled to Cora, Wyoming to hunt
and sketch the following year. Rungius decided to remain in
the United States spending the next decade of summers in
Wyoming and the remainder of the year in his New York studio.
During those years, he painted and hunted western big game
animals, including moose, pronghorn and bighorn sheep in the
Rocky Mountains and he completed these paintings during the
long New York winters.
Rungius’ reputation as a premier wildlife artist was enhanced
considerably by an expedition to the Yukon Territory in 1905.
The artwork and social connections that resulted from that
trip launched Rungius into the center of America’s
conservation movement, promoted by such famous American
sportsmen as President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1910 he accepted
an offer to visit the Canadian Rockies. The opportunities to
hunt, explore and paint the region were so appealing that in
1921 he built a summer studio called “The Paintbox” in Banff,
where he worked from April to October of each year until his
death in 1959.
Rungius’ ability to capture the heart-stopping chance
encounter between man and animal sets him apart from many of
his talented colleagues. Equally accomplished as a painter of
wildlife and landscapes, Rungius quickly developed an
enthusiastic following among fellow artists and patrons. The
National Museum of Wildlife Art maintains the largest
collection of Rungius’ work in the United States.