Of the many exquisite pieces to be auctioned at the 10th annual Jackson Hole Art Auction in September, few are as highly sought after as the six paintings by Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert. The paintings are among the few remaining representatives of Kuhnert’s work; as such, they’re estimated to fetch a small mint—each.
Friedrich Wilhelm “Lion” Kuhnert, as his contemporaries knew him, was born in Oppeln, Germany, in 1865. After beginning an apprenticeship at age 17, Kuhnert moved to Berlin in 1883 and studied with renowned animal painter Paul Meyerheim at the Berlin Academy of Arts. Kuhnert first traveled to Africa in 1891, going on safaris in the German and English colonial territories. He sketched and made field notes along the way, later turning them into impressive oil paintings in his Berlin studio.
A hunter as well as a painter, Kuhnert traveled to Africa annually to capture its wild animals in the flesh and on the canvas. Between Kuhnert’s extended visits to Africa, he returned to Germany and continued his wildlife studies, traveling throughout Europe in pursuit of its indigenous species, including red stag, elk, bison, wild boar, and moose.
It’s estimated that Kuhnert’s body of work once totaled 5,500 paintings. Today there are less than a thousand known works in existence. The remainder of his artwork was destroyed or lost in World War II.
Kuhnert died while traveling in Switzerland in 1926, leaving a legacy of extraordinary wildlife paintings behind. His fantastic style, mixed with his works’ relative scarcity, mean the surviving pieces fetch enormous sums when they do make it to auction.
Such is the case with the upcoming Jackson Hole sale scheduled for September 16 and 17. Held in the Jackson, Wyoming, Center for the Arts at noon both days, Kuhnert’s works are expected to go for anywhere from $25,000 to $300,000, depending on the piece. They are:
For more information about the sale, visit jacksonholeartauction.com today.