Ernst Haeckel…inventor of the word “ECOLOGY”

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – 1919) was a philosopher, professor, physician, naturalist, biologist and artist.


“Prosobranchia” – Original lithograph – 1899

Early Life and Contributions:

After receiving a degree in medicine in 1857, Haeckel obtained a doctorate in zoology from the University of Jena and taught zoology there. Haeckel’s contributions to zoological science were a mixture of sound research and assumptions often with insufficient evidence. He was a renowned figure whose popularity with the public was substantially higher than it was with many of his scientific peers.


Although best known for the famous statement “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, he also invented many words commonly used by biologists today, such as phylum, phylogeny, and ecology.

Haeckel also proposed the idea that all multicellular animals derived from a theoretical two-layered (ectoderm and endoderm) animal, the Gastraea, a theory that provoked much discussion. He engaged in much valuable research on marine invertebrates, such as the radiolarians, jellyfish, calcareous sponges, and medusae, and wrote a series of monographs on these groups based largely on specimens brought back by the Challenger Expedition.

He was also the first to divide the animal kingdom into unicellular and multicellular animals. An ardent Darwinist, Haeckel made several zoological expeditions and founded the Phyletic Museum at Jena and the Ernst Haeckel Haus, which contains his books, records, and other effects.

An effective popularizer of science, Haeckel produced numerous tree diagrams, showing evolutionary relationships between different species. Modern scientists and science historians have varied on the value of these diagrams but many also praised his work and creativity. Haeckel also produced artwork, much of it quite beautiful, starting with his atlas of radiolarians, published in 1862.

It has been argued that what he saw was influenced by Jugendstil, the Art Nouveau form popular in Germany at the time. Whether or not artistic style influenced Haeckel’s illustrations, his illustrations certainly influenced later art forms, including light fixtures, jewelry, furniture, and even a gateway to the Paris Word Fair in 1900. In 1906 the Monist League was formed at Jena with Haeckel as its president. The League held a strong commitment to social Darwinism in which man was seen as part of nature and in no way qualitatively distinct from any other organic form.

Later in his career, Haeckel produced Art Forms in Nature, a work that he published in a series of 10 installments. Designed to interest the general public in naturalism, Haeckel’s own illustrations of animals, plants and microscopic organisms were introduced. In 1913, he published a set of photographs titled Nature as an Artist, aimed at countering allegations that his illustrations could be misleading. Today, however, many scientists and science historians share the conviction that his images were often highly contrived, beautiful as they may be.

Haeckel was the first person known to use the term “First World War”. Shortly after the start of the war Haeckel wrote:

“There is no doubt that the course and character of the feared “European War” will become the first world war in the full sense of the word.”

The “European War” became known as “The Great War”, and it was not until 1931, with the beginning realization that another global war might be possible, that there is any other recorded use of the term “First World War”.
He was one of the first to consider psychology as a branch of physiology. His chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated art forms of nature.

Although Haeckel’s ideas are important to the history of evolutionary theory, and he was a competent invertebrate anatomist most famous for his work many speculative concepts that he championed are now considered incorrect but still he has been admired greatly for his work.

Haeckel died on Aug. 9, 1919, Germany, leaving behind his great inventions for others to serve as a source of inspiration.

Edward Sheriff Curtis, ethnologist and photographer

“It’s such a big dream, I can’t see it all” – Edward S. Curtis

These words may have been the most profound Edward S. Curtis ever wrote. They were addressed to noted anthropologist George Bird Grinnell over one hundred years ago, shortly after what was to be the defining experience of Curtis’s life. In the summer of 1900, Curtis first encountered American Indian culture in a state relatively unaltered by contact with Europeans. He witnessed one of the last performances of the Sun Dance ceremony and was given access to the sacred lives of numerous American Indians.

“An Oasis in the Badlands”

The coalescence of these three events created a profound shock wave that affected the very foundation of Curtis’s life, his values, and his beliefs. Having become deeply impassioned by the power and dignity of the American Indian, Curtis began to realize for the first time that he might create a record preserving the history of these magnificent people and their extraordinary culture. In the same letter to Grinnell, Curtis went on to say, “But I can start-and sell prints of my pictures as I go along. I’m a poor man, but I’ve got my health, plenty of steam, and something to work for.” Curtis was thirty-two years old, with a family and a thriving business. His willingness to put at risk everything he had worked for up until then is a testament to his enlightened view of humanity, the strength of his individualism, and his creative genius.

Continue reading

Found in a trash bin, in New York city

Triangles, rectangles, squares, and colors: Peter Freudenthal

Lithograph, “Komposition”, signed, by P. Freudenthal,  size: 9″ w x 11″ h, 1979

FreudenthalPeter Freudenthal was born 1938 in Norrköping, Sweden. He grew up in a multicultural and cosmopolitan environment where the jewish tradition was intermixed with the European, and where cultural activities played an important role. Freudenthal studied among others Art, Art History, Archeology and Ethnography, which gave him the possibility to visit and to work with different cultures that have inspired him in his art. An example is 1962 when he worked as archeologist in Wadi-Halfa in northern Sudan and got inspiration for his first abstract paintings Serra I, II and III with impressions from Sudanese architecture. The explanation to these works were hidden until the artist clarified their meaning.

Continue reading

Animal + Art Deco = Paul Jouve

The fantastic animal painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Paul Jouve

Vintage lithograph ” Panthère branchée “, by Paul Jouve, signed in the plate, 1948

Paul Jouve

Encouraged by his father, Paul Jouve spent a considerable amount of time during his childhood and youth drawing in Paris’ Jardin des Plantes (main botanical gardens) and Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle. Continue reading

For less than the cost of a Gauguin…

Jacques Boullaire, wood engraver, etcher and illustrator

Vintage and original wood engraving, by Jacques Boullaire, 1940’s, ” Vahinés ”

Size: 3″½ x 3″½

At last, an engraver, after all these colorists! An artist needed a considerable nerve, self-confidence and had to feel a strong attachment towards Tahiti in order to dare to try to render by the sole virtuosity of an engraving tool on a brass plate what many others tried to do before him using a palette containing all the colors of the rainbow, mixed and combined in every conceivable manner. Jacques Boullaire had this nerve as well as a love for and mastery of such a difficult profession.

Continue reading

Helmut Newton – Villa Capri, in 1975

Villa Capri, 1975 by Helmut Newton

Original vintage Photo-Litho from  Helmut Newton’s published, hand signed (lower right side), shot in 1975, printed in 1995.

Size: 15″ 1/8 h  x 11″5/8 w  (38.5 cm x 29 cm)

German-born fashion and art photographer HELMUT NEWTON created his own genre of highly-sexualized female fashion photography. He is considered now to be one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the 20th century. His photographic images that originally appeared in high fashion magazines such as Vogue now command ever ascending prices at major auction houses worldwide. Continue reading

Rendez-vous au château de Fontainebleau

Architectural plates by Rodolphe Pfnor – 1863

Large architectural lithographic plates (5), created in 1863 by R. Pfnor, superbly detailed of the Palace of Fontainebleau


5 lithographs by R. Pfor, printed in 1863 – Size: 20″½ x 14″¼

The Palais de Fontainebleau was a favorite hunting lodge of French nobility, as well as of Napoleon himself, before Versailles. Over time, each of its occupants seemed determined to make improvements, either through new buildings or new decorations. Chateau_de_FontainebleauThis has resulted in the present profusion of courtyards and structures with varying decorative and architectural styles. It was in the Renaissance, however, that the palace underwent its most spectacular transformation. François I commissioned a new entrance, the Ballroom, and the Saint Saturini Chapel. He also saw to the construction of buildings encircling the current White Horse Courtyard, and of the François I Gallery to link the two groups of buildings. Pfnor credits Sebastian Serlio with building the Gallery, though modern scholars find no documentation to verify this claim. Later, François I’s son, Henry II, and Catherine de Medici “employed architects Philibert Delorme and Jean Bullant to build a new palace on the site. Italian Mannerist artists Rosso Fiorentino and Primaticcio came to assist in the interior decoration, helping to found the School of Fontainebleau”.

The Palace of Fontainebleau, located 55 kilometres from the centre of Paris, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The palace as it is today is the work of many French monarchs, building on an early 16th-century structure of Francis I. The building is arranged around a series of courtyards. The commune of Fontainebleau has grown up around the remainder of the Forest of Fontainebleau, a former royal hunting park.