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A German painter, illustrator and author, he specialized in animal pictures, with his work including drawings, etchings, watercolors and oil paintings.
Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert was born in Oppeln on September 18, 1865, and at the age of 17, he began but did not complete, a technical and commercial apprenticeship. From 1883 to 1887 Kuhnert studied on scholarship at the 'Königliche Akademische Hochschule für Bildende Künste' in Berlin. From Berlin, he traveled north and to Egypt, East Africa and India, producing extensive landscape and animal studies. His favorite subject were African lions. He studied and drew tropical animals in their natural habitat, not only in zoological gardens.
In 1894, he married the 18-year-old Emilie Herdikerhoff. The couple had one daughter but divorced in 1909. That year Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert also illustrated the book Tierleben der Erde, (Animals of the Earth) which he had co-written with zoologist Johann Wilhelm Haacke. Kuhnert married again in 1913 and died on February 11, 1926 while in Flims, Switzerland.