Rudolf Ernst (Austrian, 1854–1932)
Tiger in the Mountains
Oil on panel, 91/4 by 13 in.
Signed lower right: R. Ernst

Famous for his exquisite images of daily life in the Middle East, Ernst also produced striking images of tigers at rest, being hunted, as a pasha’s pet, or on the prowl as in Tiger in the Mountains. Here, a magnificent tiger stands on a mountain ridge observing an obscured prey or potential mate, in a composition that is similar to Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Tiger on the Watch (ca. 188, Museum of Arts, Houston). This composition is clearly different from his more detailed and vividly rendered compositions that juxtapose multiple figures, architecture, and decorative motifs. Here, Ernst’s looser brush strokes reveal a sole animal in a vast mountainous terrain with a subdued color palette of violet, blue, and ocher that evokes the first rays of morning light.