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 Ernst Haeckel  (1834 - 1919)

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: watercolor zoological and botanical illustration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Described by Charles Darwin as creating "the most magnificent works which I have ever seen", (Yoon) Ernst Haeckel was a German zoologist, professor, writer and artist noted for detailed watercolor paintings of evolving organisms.  "He also discovered, ordered, named and gloriously depicted thousands of new species as he traipsed across the globe, sketch pad and watercolors in hand." (Yoon)  His illustrations number over 100 and depict animals and sea creatures as well as botanical subjects.

Haeckel was born in Potsdam, then a part of Prussia, and completed early studies at Cathedral High School before attending medical school in Berlin.  He received his M.D. license to practice medicine. 

From the University of Jena in Thurengin, Germany, he earned a doctorate in zoology, and then became a professor of comparative anatomy at that institution.  In extensive travels which included the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Norway, Dalmatia, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, he named thousands of species.  During 1866 and 1867 when he was in the Canary Islands, he spent time with Charles Darwin. 

Written by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier

Carol Kaesuk Yoon, "A Scientist With a Paintbrush", The New York Times, August 11, 2009, p. D4

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