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Wilhelm Kray was born in Berlin in 1828 and after having spent a short spell as a goldsmith, in 1848 joined the Royal Prussian Academy of Art in Berlin where he studied under Julius Schrader and Wilhelm Schirmer, learning the skills of landscape and portrait painting.

During a two year stay in Paris, 1858-60, he attended the studios of Alexandre Cabanel and Paul Baudry but decided to return to Berlin, primarily painting portraits, including of the German Emperor and many members of the aristocracy.  His restlessness took him to Rome and Naples where the enchanting landscape and coastline became the inspiration for his dreamlike backdrops to his rendering of folklore and mythology.

Returning to Berlin in 1871 and later moving to Vienna, Italy always beckoned and, despite being seriously ill, he travelled to Genoa and Venice for a last time before returning to Munich where he died in 1889.

Kray exhibited throughout 1879-88 at the International Exhibitions in Munich at the famous Glass Palace and his paintings can be found among the collections of the Museums of Cologne and Gratz.

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