Born circa 1808, Jacques Burkhardt was Louis Agassiz’s personal and principal artist. Having studied in Munich and Rome, the Swiss painter 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 and spent most of his career drawing under the MCZ founder’s supervision. Burkhardt’s turtle illustrations for Agassiz’s quintessential work, Contributions to the Natural History of the United States (4 v., 1857-1862)–widely considered the most elaborately produced American zoological publication of the era–helped establish Burkhardt’s reputation within the natural history community. This collection consists of 536 watercolor and/or pencil drawings of fishes and miscellaneous vertebrates and invertebrates, together with the original color drawings ultimately adapted on stone by lithographer A. Sonrel (including Burkhardt’s classic turtle series) for Agassiz’s Contributions. For detailed information about a drawing, including transcriptions of annotations, select the "Full Records" option below. The drawings are held by the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
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