Jackson Hole Art Auction, September 16-17, 2016, Lot 384, Estimate $200,000-300,000.
Friedrich Wilhelm â€œLionâ€ 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 Kuhnertâ€™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.
Itâ€™s estimated that Kuhnertâ€™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.