Kuhnert, Wilhelm

Born in Germany in 1865, Wilhelm Kuhnert showed early promise and prowess. While attending the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, he learned to paint animals and landscapes en plein air–from life–as the Impressionists in France advocated. Three years later, Germany established the colony of German East Africa, which included Mt. Kilimanjaro, the rich game lands around the Rufiji River and parts of Maasailand. To an ambitious wildlife artist, the call of Africa was strong, and Kuhnert found a way to make the journey. For 15 years, at the head of long trains of bearers, Kuhnert would explore areas of Africa that few Europeans had ever seen, drawing and painting wildlife and people. Kuhnert’s nickname was “Lion” because of his skill at capturing the essence of the king of beasts.

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