SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST:
ENVISIONING WILDLIFE AND WILDERNESS WITH THE BIG FOUR
MASTERWORKS FROM THE RIJKSMUSEUM TWENTHE AND THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART
February 17 – May 26, 2024
“It’s exciting for us to have so many works by European masters exhibited at The James for the first time. Highlighting the best wildlife art is a core part of what The James Museum offers our guests. Survival of the Fittest is the perfect introduction to the Big Four artists who revolutionized art depicting nature and wildlife.” –Emily Kapes, Curator of Art at The James Museum
Survival of the Fittest is the first time The James Museum will feature the paintings of four European masters. With 45 compelling masterworks, this exhibition comments on current conversations on land and wildlife conservation, offering profound insights into humanity’s evolving relationship with the wild. Known today as the Big Four—German-American Carl Rungius (1869–1959), Germans Richard Friese (1854–1918) and Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865–1926), and Swedish artist Bruno Liljefors (1860–1939)—revolutionized Western perspectives on our connection with Earth’s creatures.
Transport yourself to the natural habitats of our world’s most majestic animals, a rare luxury in the time of the Big Four that still provides a captivating experience for today’s audience. Survival of the Fittest places the Big Four’s paintings in an international context, exploring colonialism, Darwinism, art history and alternative perspectives on wildlife and nature. This stunning exhibition captivates with the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and invites visitors to reflect on their own relationship with the natural world.
Survival of the Fittest: Envisioning Wildlife and Wilderness with the Big Four, Masterworks from the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and the National Museum of Wildlife Art is curated by Adam Duncan Harris, Grainger/Kerr Director of the Carl Rungius Catalogue Raisonné and organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
EXHIBITION OPENING RECEPTION
Museum members are invited to join us for the opening reception of Survival of the Fittest: Envisioning Wildlife and
Wilderness with the Big Four, Masterworks from The Rijksmuseum Twenthe and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Members can also preview the exhibition February 15–16 during regular museum hours.
Space is limited; registration required for the reception.
Thank you to Freeman’s, our Reception Sponsor.
Date & TIME
Friday, February 16
Free for members
6 – 8 p.m.
Sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.