A professional artist for more than half a century, Bob Kuhn enjoys all kinds of art. But his passion and his specialty have always been wildlife. For many years, he worked as a commercial artist for top outdoor magazines. By the time he was 25, he had sold several covers to Outdoor Life. Success followed success.
Kuhn has been painting animals since childhood. His earliest memories of growing up in Buffalo, New York, are of his visits to the Buffalo Zoo. As a child, he felt an unexplainable urge to make drawings of the big cats. His painting titled The Lair Of The Cat won the 1991 Prix de West Award. In 1992, he won the Rungius Medal from the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming.
Despite the success of his early years, Kuhn claims he was not a very good illustrator. In fact, he believed his creativity was constrained by the demands of business “to get the facts straight.” Worse, deadlines often required he send a piece regardless of his own dissatisfaction. Kuhn said, “A certain part of the picture process has to be sitting and looking, and I realized I can only sit and look for so long. I prefer to carry several painting along progressively, working on them in shifts. That way, my judgment is preserved.”
Long recognized for his skill at capturing the essence of an animal’s movements and for his complex compositions, Kuhn has traveled from Alaska to Africa to study his subjects in their natural habitat.
Always though, the environment is submissive to the dominant animal in the painting. Often his paintings reflect the many variations of the predator-prey relationship found in nature. The animal’s struggle to survive may be noted in a tense muscle or in an alert eye that constantly scans the distance in search of food or danger.
Wildlife: The Artist’s View, stated: Bob Kuhn is without peer. His work represents the best of wildlife art and has been described as having the ability to take its viewers into the very midst of nature’s secret places, almost into the minds of the animals themselves. - Prix de West 2003 Invitational Exhibition program, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
"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." - Tom Davis, in "Wild Harvest: The Animal Art of Bob Kuhn (See 'Books', 'Art-Artists').