Discover the watercolors of Brazilian fish that have gone missing for 150 years


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Conheça as aquarelas de peixes brasileiros que passaram 150 anos desaparecidas

Discover the watercolors of Brazilian fish that have gone missing for 150 years  


Collection Overview

In April 1865,  Museum of Comparative Zoology  founder and director Louis Agassiz set off for Brazil with his wife Elizabeth and a dozen assistants on a 15-month collecting expedition financed by Boston banker Nathaniel Thayer.

Agassiz’s primary goal was to investigate the distribution of Brazil’s freshwater fish species.

Among the assistants on the journey was Louis Agassiz’s personal and principal artist, Jacques Burkhardt.

Born circa 1808, Burkhardt studied in Munich and Rome and served as Agassiz’s full-time artist in Neuchatel in the early 1840s.

After Agassiz left for America, Burkhardt reunited with him in New York in 1847. He spent most of his career drawing under the MCZ founder’s supervision…

Emys (side view) (1856)

Burkhardt’s turtle illustrations for Agassiz’s quintessential work, Contributions to the Natural History of the United States — widely considered the most elaborate American zoological publication of the era — helped establish Burkhardt’s reputation within the natural history community.

Burkhardt’s zoological drawings and landscapes produced during the Thayer Expedition (1865-1866) were the culmination of a brilliant although unpublicized career. He passed away 10 months after returning to Cambridge due to an illness aggravated by Brazil’s hot climate…