Smilodon  (2001) Oil on Gatorboard

Paleoart: The Harmony of Art and Science

A master of wildlife painting, George Teichmann’s oeuvre has focused the niche
subject of ‘paleoart’ and brought him great success nationally and internationally.


Born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia, George Rinaldino Teichmann was instructed at the People’s School of Art in Bohemia from 1964-1973. For a decade, Teichmann worked as a successful artist in Europe, commissioned to paint many portraits in Rome, and producing many paintings on the subject of wildlife.
In 1983, the artist immigrated to Canada, where he was enthralled by the large forested areas. He took a solo five year canoeing venture, charting many remote Canadian northern rivers. The maps he created were detailed and very useful to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, who use them as guides to this day.
Following this project, Teichmann decided to remain in the north, settling in the Yukon, but has since moved to the Czech Republic where he currently resides.  As is written in the biography on his personal webpage, ‘The lure of the northern wilderness captured George so completely that he now makes his home in Whitehorse, Yukon, the Land of the Midnight Sun’.

In this body of paintings on display at the Yukon Arts Centre, drawings and sketches consist of depictions of the ice-age natural environments and those that inhabited them, what he defined as ‘Paleoart’. Teichmann is an expert at painting wild animals, big cats and prehistoric landscapes. The animals he depicts were native to the Yukon, including the scimitar cat, the mastodon, the giant ground sloth and wild horses. Teichmann researched the flora and fauna of that time and region to reproduce the environment. Their prairie-like home is a recreation of the Yukon’s northern landscape during the last glacial period. The paintings are imaginative, historical and scientific all at once.

Teichmann’s work certainly inhabits a niche of its own. He is a master at painting long extinct animals and producing works that are dynamic and realistic.  Teichmann’s scientific methodology and style have brought him many commissions by museums and paleontological study groups. In fact, the painter was commissioned by the Yukon Government to create a series of paintings of the prehistoric wildlife and wild animals of the Yukon for the Beringia Interpretive Centre. You can see many banner backdrops of these works in the Ice Age Mammals exhibition now showing in the Public Gallery of the Yukon Arts Centre. Indeed, alongside the skeletal remains in Ice Age Mammals, Teichmann’s interpretive paintings are helpful in decoding the secret world of the prehistoric.

Shameful Retreat (1998) Oil on Gatorboard

The central image in the Ice Age Mammals exhibition, Shameful retreat (1998) is a dynamic oil painting on gatorboard, a lightweight surface. Fearsome scimitar cats and snarling Yukon lions rush towards the viewer, in flight from a band of huge woolly mammoths. We can see the movement in the beast’s tensed muscles, in the blades of dry grass caught in the draft of their rush and in their flowing manes of hair. The colorful surface was created with painstaking layers of fine brushstrokes, following the models and skeletal remains of Paleolithic animals studied by paleontologists. The final image is produced over the course of three months to a year of work. A dry tundra forms the foreground, and glacial peaks appear in the background of the image. Teichmann has painted an imagined event from the last great ice age here in the Yukon.
To learn more about George Teichmann, check out his personal artist website where you can find many more images of his work, biographical details and contact information. George Teichmann Paintings will be displayed in the Community Gallery of the Yukon Arts Centre until November 1st, 2014.