TRAIL RIDERS INTO MOUNT ASSINIBOINE
CARL CLEMENS MORITZ RUNGIUS (1869-1959, AMERICAN)
Rungius was born in Rixdorf, Germany and first learned to draw animals alongside his grandfather who pursued drawing, painting and taxidermy, in his retirement. Later Carl's academic and artistic studies were conducted at the Berlin Kunstschule (Art School) in preparation for three winters at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Art). Many hours were also spent studying and sketching live animals at the Berlin Zoo and the bones, muscles, tendons and tissue of carcasses at a local glue factory. These early forays combined with his love of the outdoors resulted in a realistic painting style that would ultimately garner him awards and recognition as America's most important big- game naturalist painter and sculptor. He also holds the distinction of being the first career wildlife artist in North America. Rungius first visited Banff in 1910 on the invitation of local guide, trapper and outfitter Jimmy Simpson. Simpson, himself an amateur naturalist painter, was so impressed by Rungius's ability to accurately draw the form and structure of big game he invited Rungius to the Rockies for a complimentary sheep-hunting expedition. That invitation was the beginning of Rungius's forty-seven year annual April to October pilgrimage to Banff. As he became familiar with the region and more experienced as an artist, his Canadian paintings evolved from pictorial stages for his animal portraits to award-winning canvases of Rocky Mountain lakes, glaciers and ranges. These high alpine settings were prominently captured on canvas with brighter and bolder hues suffused with light to strengthen perspective.