• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2171

    Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture

    20 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 101

    Robert F. Kuhn (1920-2007)

    Escort to Eternity

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Robert F. Kuhn (1920-2007)
    Escort to Eternity
    signed 'Kuhn' (lower left)
    acrylic on masonite
    28 x 36 in. (71.1 x 91.4 cm.)


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    "The bond between an old tusker and one or more younger elephants, called askaris, is a common one. You could liken the younger bulls to enforcers; they become the eyes and ears of the old one, running off any invaders in their space, even propping him up should he suffer a wound or become ill, and leading him away to safety." (Bob Kuhn in Wild Harvest: The Animal Art of Bob Kuhn, 1997, p. 124)

    Bob Kuhn was fascinated by the natural world from an early age. His drawings of animals began with childhood visits to the Buffalo Zoo in upstate New York and this was followed by formal instruction at the Pratt Institute in New York from 1937 where he studied design, anatomy and life-drawing. Over the next thirty years, he became one of the most popular wildlife illustrators in America. Later, Kuhn began focusing on his depictions of animals in oil. His fascination with wild animals would later take him to Alaska and Africa on expeditions to observe the natural habitat of his subjects. In 1991 he won the Prix de West Award for his painting titled The Lair of the Cat. He is known for his meticulous observation of the natural world and his vivid portrayal of wildlife, often capturing intense moments of action and drama. These two works by Kuhn show his careful attention to detail, from muscle tension to an intrepid glance and his ability to transport the viewer into the mind of the animal and exemplify why he is considered one of the most influential wildlife artists of our time. Tom Davis wrote of the artist, "The genius of Bob Kuhn is his ability to lay bare the drama, the majesty, and the essential nobility of the animal kingdom. Few have done it better; none have done it with greater conviction." (Wild Harvest: The Animal Art of Bob Kuhn, p. 16)

    Provenance

    Abercrombie & Fitch.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR