Rudolf Friedrich Kurz (1818-1871) - painter Oct 25, 2018 21:32:57 GMT -5
Post by Californian on Oct 25, 2018 21:32:57 GMT -5
Rudolf Friedrich Kurz (1818–1871) was a Swiss painter and writer who ventured to the United States in order to pain and study the native Americans. He is mostly known for his journals, in which he presents an account on life in the mid-19th century along the Mississippi and Missouri. Born in 1818 in Bern, Switzerland to Johannes Kurz (who had immigrated to Switzerland from the German city of Reutlingen in 1806 settling in Langnau, Canton Bern) and Maria Stooss. He attended drawing classes at the Bern gymnasium under Joseph Volmar. In 1838 he travelled to Paris to further his studies; thereupon he met Alexander von Humboldt and Karl Bodmer. Upon returning to Bern (1842) he became head of painting class at the Fellenberg Institute in Hofwil. Again he left Bern (and the Old Continent) in 1846 setting sails for America. The venture along the banks of Mississippi and Missouri was noted and reviewed in his journals. The time spent in the bustling frontier communities proved to be both fruitful and dangerous—he tried his luck in mining and horse trade (with no successes). In 1850 he married Witthae, a daughter of Kirutshe, leader of an Iowa Indian band but the marriage did not last—Witthae ran away after two weeks, pining for her people. Eventually, after four years of struggle to pay board and lodging he met Alexander Culbertson in Council Bluffs, in June 1851 and embarked on the steamer St. Ange to Fort Fort Berthold to work for the American Fur Company. While Kurz worked as a clerk, he sketched scenes in the area, despite being told that the Mandan and Hidatsa people considered painting and drawing would bring ill luck. During the summer, cholera broke out among the Indians, and nearly everyone except Kurz became ill. Blame for the sickness began to focus upon the artist, so he fled to Fort Union on August 18, 1851. In Fort Union, Kurz had better opportunities of indulging in his passion. The Fort's manager, Edwin Thompson Denig commissioned the young Swiss to paint and sketch various persons and places. Many of his sketches of Fort Union's interior helped with that fort's partial reconstruction in 1989. Kurz returned to Bern in 1852 and taught painting, first in the local gymnasium and later, at the closure of his life, at an Art School he established. One of his pupils was Fritz Schenk who emigrated to the US in 1870 and later became an assistant to the trader at Fort Randall, S.D. Upon his death on October 16, 1871, Rudolf Friedrich Kurz left a large number of sketches, paintings (some of which were burned by his family due to nudity) and texts as well as a brief dictionary of Native American dialects.
self portrait of the artist
self portrait of the artist