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Josef (Joseph) Wolf

(1820-1899), Naturalist painter and illustrator

Sitter in 1 portrait
Born into a Prussian farming family, Josef Wolf’s interest in natural history led him to train as a lithographer. In 1848 he moved to Britain, having been invited by the Zoological Society to work at the British Museum. Wolf’s exceptional ability ‘to accurately represent an indescribable feeling of life and movement’ in his animal subjects led to his employment by leading scientists including John Gould and Charles Darwin. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer admired the ‘vivid truthfulness’ of his work. Wolf exhibited at the Royal Academy, worked for The Graphic and the Illustrated London News and published The Life and Habits of Wild Animals (1873) to critical acclaim.

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Josef (Joseph) Wolf

by William Logsdail
oil on board, circa 1887
On display in the Room 28 wallcase at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 7029

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