"Not since the Lord himself showed his stuff to Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones had anyone shown such grace and skill in the reconstruction of animals from disarticulated skeletons. Charles R. Knight, the most celebrated of artists in the reanimation of fossils, painted all the canonical figures of dinosaurs that fire our fear and imagination to this day."
-- Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989

Welcome to the World of
Charles R. Knight

Charles R. Knight, who lived from 1874 to 1953, is famous for his ground-breaking depictions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, and wildlife in general. Millions of people are exposed annually to this artist's works in major institutions around the world including the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

This web site is maintained in loving memory of this late 19th- and early 20th-century American natural history painter by his granddaughter Rhoda Knight Kalt, Dean Hannotte, Chris Kennett and others. We would love to know if the works of Charles R. Knight have influenced your life. Please feel free to email us at: Rhoda@charlesrknight.com .

The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL
has an on-going
special exhibit of Charles R. Knight's paintings.


Charles R Knight painter and wildfile artist painted living animals

Chicago Zoological Society, 
Brookfield Zoo

Charles R. Knight, famous wildlife artist and painter, was the first to paint the first Giant Panda in AmericaCharles Knight spent a great deal of time at this zoo, drawing and painting the wildlife. Especially Su-Lin, the first panda to reside in the Western hemisphere.The Brookfield Zoo became Su-Lin's beloved home where Charles Knight visited this special panda frequently.  The artist was also a close friend of Ruth Harkness who brought this renowned panda into the United States.



News flash:

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Has opened a special exhibit:

The Scientific Art of Charles R. Knight

It ran in April 26th, 2015
in the R.P.Simmons Family Gallery


In a recent UK Post Office blog post, Charles R. Knight (1874-1953) was recognized as the most influential paleoartrist of  the early 20th century. 

Charles R. Knight’s work has appeared in encyclopedias, textbooks and his murals and sculptures have appeared in museums around the world.

Visit the UK Post Office Blog page.

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The famous "Tiger and Peacock" painting is going on special exhibit at the Hudson River Museum
511 Warburton Avenue
Yonkers, New York 10701

Exhibit: Strut:The Peacock and Beauty in Art

October 11th 2014 through January 18th 2015

Nittany Mineralogical Society
Held a special meeting
October 15th 2014
Dr.Charles E. Miller, Jr. Geologist
Spoke on
"Charles R. Knight - Art and Geology"
Rhoda Knight Kalt will be
giving the introduction.

Penn State Campus
The Earth and Engineering Building
State College, Penn.


Charles R. Knight in new Attenborough book

Fine color reproductions of two magnificent Charles R. Knight paintings appear in a new book on "Drawn from Paradise: The Discovery, Art & Natural History of the Birds of Paradise" by Sir David Attenborough and Errol Fuller, was published in 2012 in Great Britain by the publisher Harper Collins. These rare surviving examples of Knight's bird pictures are the Splendid Astrapia from the Central Highlands of New Guinea, and the Greater Bird of Paradise. Both appear to have been painted from living specimens in the Bronx Zoo during the  late 1920s. There is a lovely colorized photograph of the artist Charles R. Knight on p.244.  It shows him sitting at his studio, at his easel.

Knight is in good company in this splendid new art book. Other paintings in the volume are works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Breughel, and the renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.

Fine Art Connoiseur "Historic Masters" celebrates Charles R. Knight (download PDF) "The Artist Who Saw Through Time".


Illustrated lecture and book signing, 'Charles R. Knight; The Artist Who Saw Through Time" by the author-speaker, Richard Milner, is planned for Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 at 2 P.M., at the Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvensant Place, Staten Island, New York


  The Salmagundi Club hosted a special exhibit of Charles Knight's two tiger paintings, "Bengal Tiger with Peacock" and "Tiger Holding Hunters at Bay," in their classic Parlor Room. 

    The Salmagundi Club is 137 years old. It has been featuring the work of artists such as Childe Hassam, N.C.Wyeth, William Merrit Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, along with members such as Sir Winston Churchill, Buckminster Fuller, and Thomas Hoving.  This exhibit of Charles R. Knight's tiger paintings continued through June, 2011. 

                            Information: info @Salmagundi.org
                            Telephone: (212) 255-7740,ext. 0

News flash: BAMCinematek located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, NY 11217, phone: (718) 636-4125, honored Charles R. Knight at a four-day film festival, May 20-23, 2010
The festival is celebrated Knight's influence on the world of film, especially "The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms";
"King Kong"; "The Lost World" and others.  Alloy Orchestra has played during the silent film of "The Lost World."
     Opening night there was a panel discussion led by Martin McQuade, film historian.  Panel members are: Rhoda Knight Kalt; Richard Milner; and Stephen Quinn.

News flash: A major art book on the life and art of Charles R. Knight. It was published and is in book stores across the country and also can be purchased on Amazon. Entitled "Charles R. Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time."

  This book was written by Richard Milner. It contains many of his drawings and paintings never before published.  More exciting news will follow!


A Major documentary is also in the works! Joel Nathaniel Berke, of Pacific Cine Media,is the organizer and the director of the project.

A special museum tour entitled Honoring the Life of Charles R. Knight on the 50th Anniversary of his Death was organized by his granddaughter Rhoda Knight Kalt. Each museum showed its own collection of Knight's art in addition to works from the traveling exhibit.

Charles R Knight, wildlife painter, especially loved to paint big cats from real life specimens.Two very special pieces starred in the tour, the famous Bengal Tiger and Peacock oil painting, considered his finest tiger.  Also Tiger Holding Hunters at Bay: the artist proceeded with the Hunters painting posing his two models in ancient bejewelled garb...from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both are linked historically with the name of Dr. George Kunz, reknowned gemologist of Tiffany & Co., who for years had planned to build The Kunz Museum of Charles R. Knight Works in Pennsylvania. He hired an architect to design the building that would house all of Knight's available work along with some newly commissioned pieces. Among the new art was to be the very painting of a tiger holding two spear-brandishing hunters at bay which is was on tour, along with an earlier Knight painting of a Bengal tiger which had been done from a magnificent specimen at the Bronx zoo and which was the other star of this tour. The artist proceeded with the Manchurian painting, posing his hunters two models dressed in ancient bejeweled garb from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but Kunz died before his ambitious project could be completed. Fortunately the sentimental Knight retained these paintings, and his family agreed to not sell them to anyone else.
Big Cat artist, Charles R. Knight, painted many types of Big Cats in his lifetime.
Tiger Holding Hunters at Bay
signed lower right,
(Click to enlarge)

  1. Knight's last painting Jaguar Walking through Forest (see below),

  2. Knight's self-portrait (see below),

  3. pencil drawings of his wife Annie Hardcastle Knight, his daughter Lucy Hardcastle Knight and others,

  4. the gold ring which he designed and always wore, his gold pocket watch, and his oil palette.

Recent Exhibits

     1. 2003-2004: Arizona Museum of Natural History, Mesa, Arizona.
     2. 2004-2005: George C. Page Museum, Los Angeles, California.
     3. 2005-2006: Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, New York.
     4. 2006-2007: Art Students League, New York, N.Y. honored
        Charles R. Knight.


Charles R. Knight: The Man Who Saw Through Time

While the name of Charles Knight (1874-1953) may be unfamiliar to many today, he is the man responsible for bringing dinosaurs (and a host of other prehistoric creatures) out of the specimen case and into the consciousness of everyday life. Through his many sculptures, book illustrations and museum murals, Knight influenced the way generations of Americans perceived the ancient world.
Charles R Kight was one of the first Dinosaur Artists.
Charles R. Knight working on Stegosaurus in 1899
Born in Brooklyn and educated at the Polytechnic Institute, Knight studied at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Students League before beginning a life-long career in the service of natural history. His mentor in paleontology was Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897), Curator of Paleontology at The Academy of Natural Sciences, who helped Knight envision prehistoric creatures as living organisms with many of the same behaviors as their modern counterparts.
This exhibit features a sampling of Knight's early twentieth century artwork from the Academy's historic collections.

An exhibition at the Ewell Sale Stewart Library.            
July 1 to September 12,2005
For information:   www.acnatsci.org

The Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Pick From the Past

See "What Were They Thinking," an article Charles R. Knight published in "Natural History" magazine in 1938 and now online at the magazine's web site:



An Animated Life and The Art of Ray Harryhausen

The second volume "The Art of Ray Harryhausen" is published! Charles R. Knight is mentioned throughout a whole chapter in this new book, published by Aurum Press, London and Watson and Guptill, New York.

Volume 3; See Below



Third Harryhausen book mentions the art and wildlife paintings of Charles R Knight.

A Century of Model Animation

Ray Harryhausen's third book has just come out. Charles R. Knight is in the book. Please visit www.rayharryhausen.com to view more.

The authors are Tony Dalton and Ray Harryhausen.


Myths and Visions, The Art of Ray Harryhausen, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford, England. Exhibition opens at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television on May 19, 2006 and will tour to selected venues in the United Kingdom in 2006-07. www.nmpft.org.uk

Photographs of Charles R. Knight's paintings are included as the artist who inspired the film industry, ranging from Willis O'Brien's "King Kong" to the films of Ray Harryhausen, Disney, etc.:

Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, will be using twelve images of Charles R. Knight's dinosaurs for film and videos - to help the public gain a greater appreciation for the paleo scenes that occurred there million of years ago.

Charles R Knight painted early mammals.

Mike O'Sullivan's article, Scientists, Artists Explore Ice Age Los Angeles, published for the Voice of America on June 28, 2004 says that at the center of the new Page Museum "exhibit are works by Charles R. Knight, who ... created lasting impressions of prehistoric animals, including Ice Age mammoths and mastodons, and much older dinosaurs."

Charles R Knight dinosaur art murals were the basis of Marqerty illustrationsOn May 2, 2004, a rather unusual collection of MARQUETRY, based on the Charles R. Knight murals that decorated the halls of the Field Museum, was auctioned by the Chait Galleries in Beverly Hills, California -- finally reaching a closing price of $169,750.00. Read the description which appeared at that time on eBay.

Charles R Knight's prehistoric dinosaur and mammal paintings were the basis of many of Harryhausen's animation.

In April of 2004, Billboard Books published the long-awaited autobiography of RAY HARRYHAUSEN, subtitled An Animated Life and with a Foreword by Ray Bradbury. "If Doré and Martin were my style," says Mr. Harryhausen, "Charles R. Knight's wonderful interpretations of prehistoric creatures were the basis of my models. Long before Obie [Willis O'Brien], myself and Steven Spielberg, he put flesh on creatures that no human had ever seen. His dinosaur and prehistoric animal paintings and sculptures had more than just a realistic surface quality; they also possessed scientific reality and natural beauty. He was the first to reconstruct prehistoric life in a romantic form and the first to work in close collaboration with palaeontologists to attempt to achieve scientifically accurate anatomy. His long experience in drawing and painting live animals in zoos, together with his romantic and vivid imagination, helped to instill his prehistoric reconstructions with a 'charisma' only found in living creatures ...

"At the LA County Museum I vividly remember a beautiful Knight mural on one of the walls depicting the way the tar pits would have looked in ancient times. This, plus a picture-book about Knight's work my mother gave me, were my first encounters with a man who was to prove an enormous help when the time came for me to make three-dimensional models of these extinct beings." (page 14). You can order the book today from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN has published a "special edition" entitled Dinosaurs and Other Monsters, which contains an article by the late Stephen J. Gould that reprints three of the famous Knight paintings that originally appeared in the February 1942 issue of National Geographic.

On February 6, 2004, the Arizona Museum of Natural History of Mesa, Arizona opened the traveling exhibit honoring Charles R. Knight on the 50th anniversary of his death. Tom Wilson, the museum's director, introduced Rhoda Knight Kalt and thanked her for allowing the museum to debut the exhibit at the opening of its two-year tour. Dr. Robert McCord, paleontologist and curator of the exhibit, spoke on Charles R. Knight with the greatest of admiration. Rhoda Kalt then spoke of her childhood memories of her grandfather. Carlos Hernandez, designer of the exhibit, used an early photograph of Charles R. Knight painting to create an almost exact replica of the artist's studio. Included are Knight's finest tiger, Bengal Tiger and Peacock, and Knight's very last painting before his death in 1953, Jaguar Walking Through the Forest (see above). Many enthusiastic Knight admirers flew across the country just to attend. (Read February 5, 2004 press release.)

Readers of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE enjoyed an extra treat in the November 2003 issue. An insert contained an article entitled "The Father of Paleo Art: Remember Charles R. Knight" which disclosed that "To honor the anniversary of Knight's death, his granddaughter, Rhoda Knight Kalt, unveiled previously unknown works from the family's collection, including a sketch of GEOGRAPHIC'S Titanotherium." It also mentioned the 50th anniversary tour and referred readers to this website.

FEATHERED DINOSAURS AND THE ORIGIN OF FLIGHT is not only the latest book by dinosaur experts Sylvia and Stephen Czerkas (published by The Dinosaur Museum, Blanding, UT, U.S.A.), but it's also the title of their traveling exhibit which opened February 7, 2004 at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. The exhibit will continue to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, CANADA (no date yet) and then to other museums.

As you enter the exhibit you'll see a 10-foot long introductory panel highlighting Charles R. Knight's renowned drawing of "The therapod dinosaur Ornitholestes capturing its prey, Archeopteryx", made for the American Museum of Natural History under the direction of Henry Fairfield Osborn. This composition became the standard depiction of the two animals. To this day ornitholestes is traditionally portrayed as springing to grasp its feathered victim.

David M. Brown has written a great article about Rhoda and her grandfather for the January 2003 issue of NORTHEAST MESA LIFESTYLE.

Long-time curator of paleontology at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Bruce Erickson, has authored Dinosaurs of the Science Museum of Minnesota: A Curator's Notebook (ISBN911338-54-3). About 100 pages in paperback, it's crammed with excellent photos and drawings from the museum's extensive dinosaur collections. There are also numerous field photos and even fold-out quarry maps. Especially great are the photos taken in the early 1960s in the Hell Creek featuring Bruce and "Dinosaur Jim" Jensen excavating some beautiful Triceratops specimens. There's a color reproduction of a Charles R. Knight painting of Stegosaurus that was used as a "cartoon" for a mosaic in the reptile house of the US National Zoo that's never been published before. And you'll enjoy the little juvenile diplodocid skull, too. This is a terrific book and very timely as the museum will be hosting this year's SVP meeting. You can order the book by phone at (651) 221-9414. Price is $15.95 + $4.00 shipping. Minnesota residents add $1.12 tax. (Thanks, Dan Varner!)

WILLIAM STOUT has issued the Charles R. Knight Sketchbook III, the follow-on to last year's spectacular Charles R. Knight Sketchbook II. Signed & numbered, 950. More than 165 drawings, etchings, sketches and studies of prehistoric and modern animal life, with more than 90% of this work previously unpublished. Included are some alternate pieces that did not make it into his Life Through the Ages: studies of caged animals, especially large cats; several species of fish; some interesting jewelry designs using various animals and exhibiting Indian and Southeast Asian influences; plus one full-page sketch of his daughter Lucy. Tributes are included, written by Joe Kubert, Al Williamson, Bernie Wrightson, Gregory S. Paul, Robert Peck, Doug Henderson and others. Nearly every dinosaur book published between 1900 and 1960 contained examples of Knight's work. His renderings so exemplified the extinct creatures that New York, Chicago and Los Angeles all commissioned him for murals in their natural history museums. Stout, an outstanding illustrator of dinosaurs himself, has gathered a wonderful selection of Knight's rare work. Terra Nova, 2003. SC, 8x11, 58 pages, b&w. All three sketchbooks can be ordered from Bud Plant Comic Art.

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE (222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, 215/448-1200) has recently added two of Knight's paintings on its website, including the one shown here.

The Tuesday, March 11, 2003 issue of the New York Times (in the Science Times section on page F3) featured an essay by James Gorman entitled "The Unbearable Loneliness of Being Homo Sapiens," about Neanderthal man and illustrated in color by a wonderful painting by Charles R. Knight of a family looking out from the mouth of their cave down towards a river.

PALEOIMAGERY, a beautiful new book by Allen A. and Diane E. Debus that traces the evolution of dinosaurs in art, includes an entire chapter devoted to Knight entitled "A Mythic Place in Time -- Spirit in the Knight". It can be ordered from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Winter 2002 - 2003 issue of In The Field, the Field Museum's member publication, has a tribute by Alexander Sherman entitled CHARLES KNIGHT: PREHISTORIC VISIONS OF A BELOVED MURALIST.

PROMENADE MAGAZINE has a beautifully illustrated article on Charles R. Knight by Andrew Chaikin in the March 2003 issue entitled "Walking with Dinosaurs". Promenade is a 200-page coffee-table magazine distributed in larger metropolitan hotels.

Arizona's Arizona Museum of Natural History hosted a talk by Dr. Robert McCord of the Paleontology Department and Rhoda Knight Kalt, granddaughter of Charles R. Knight at noon on Friday, December 6, 2002 in the Museum Theatre. Dr. McCord discussed the accomplishments of the noted natural history painter while Rhoda Knight Kalt shared her childhood memories of him.

YALE PEABODY MUSEUM OF NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT, is planning its own special exhibit honoring the life of Charles R. Knight on the 50th anniversary of his death. Rhoda Knight Kalt will be speaking on her childhood memories of her grandfather. Opening date to follow.

DINOSAUR SECRETS REVEALED, a two-hour documentary, aired repeatedly on the History Channel starting Monday, October 21, 2002. Among the many experts chosen to speak about Charles R. Knight were William Stout and Ray Harryhausen.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS has issued a Commemorative Edition of Knight's Life Through the Ages, with a new foreword by Stephen Jay Gould and a new introduction by Philip J. Curie. It can be ordered from Bud Plant Comic Art, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS elected Charles R. Knight, as well as James Audobon, to their Hall of Fame in October, 2001 to celebrate the Society's 100th year. You can buy the centennial book, "Illustrator's 43" through the Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10021, 212/838-2560.

October, 2001 also saw the publication of Jeff Rovin's horror thriller, FATALIS. According to Publisher's Weekly, "Saber-tooth tigers attack Los Angeles in Rovin's gung-ho second novel of cryptozoological horror. (In the first, Vespers, Rovin imagined mutant bats tearing up New York City.) . . . .

"Rovin writes zesty action sequences, making strong use of local settings, placing the final showdown at the La Brea Tar Pits. Film rights optioned by Universal Pictures for Sylvester Stallone." The book's cover makes striking use of the classic Knight smilodon from the American Museum of Natural History.

A book entitled "A Dinosaur Named SUE: The Story of the Colossal Fossil: The World's Most Complete T. rex", by Pat Relf with the SUE Science Team of the Field Museum of Natural History (September, 2000), prominently reprints on pages 26 and 27 Charles R. Knight's renowned 1920's classical interpretation, T. rex Facing Triceratops. Available from Amazon, the book is published by Scholastic, Inc., 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

Special Exhibit: Conquering Darkness; The Art of Charles R. Knight
Opened October 21st, 2005, and continued through April 30th, 2006
at the Museum of the Earth
1259 Trumansberg Road, Ithaca, NY


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Learn About Knight's Life
A Little Knight Gallery

Charles R. Knight; Dinosaur Artist and Wildlife Painter


Welcome to the World of Charles R. Knight : Learn About Knight's Life : 'Beloved Muralist' by Alexander Sherman : 'Great News for Mesa' by David Brown : A Rendition in Marquetry : Ice Age Los Angeles' by Mike O'Sullivan : A Brush With Life' by Michelle Mills : Arizona Museum of Natural History. Press Release : A Little Knight Gallery : Contemporary Wildlife : Prehistoric WildlifeAmerican Museum of Natural History : Field Museum of Natural History : Natural History Museum of Los Angeles : Early Prehistoric Restorations : Museums with Charles R. Knight Paintings
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All works of this site are copyrighted by their respective owners.
If ownership is not stated, said works are the property of THE CHARLES R. KNIGHT COLLECTION.

THE CHARLES R. KNIGHT COLLECTION is a trademark of Kalt & Kalt, LLC.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Licensing Charles R. Knight images for films and books, contact Tony Dalton and Tim Nicholson at email is info@dn-images.com or write to Tony or Tim at

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Freshwater Bay,
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Charles R. Knight, art, paleontology, dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, American Museum of Natural History, Field Museum of Natural History, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

This site was launched on October 6, 2002

© 2002 - 2008 Rhoda Steel Kalt. All Rights Reserved.
For Information, please contact Rhoda Knight Kalt (Rhoda@charlesrknight.com)
Original Website design and programming by Dean Hannotte.

CharlesRKnight.com now maintained by Key Media USA

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