Gay, Claudio (1800–1873)

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Gay, Claudio (1800–1873)

Claudio Gay (b. 1800, d. 1873), botanist, traveler, draftsman, whose research, drawings, and watercolors contributed to European knowledge of South America. Born in Draguignan, France, Gay lived for twelve years in Chile. Under the auspices of the Chilean government he traveled throughout the country between 1843 and 1851, studying and recording material for his Historia física y politica de Chile. The results of his research were published in twenty-four volumes, with two accompanying volumes of lithographs, in 1854. Of a total 289 lithographs, 103 describe plant life and 134 are devoted to fauna. Published under the general title of History, the remaining illustrations recorded various trades, costumes, pastimes, tertulias (social gatherings), views of cities, gauchos, and customs of the Araucanian Indians. The lithographs were based on Gay's own sketches and on drawings by various artists, such as the renowned German traveler and painter Johann Moritz Rugendas. The lithographic work was executed by Lehnert, Dupressoir, and Van Der Burch. Gay published several botanical studies of South America in European scientific journals. He died in France.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century .


Diego Barros Arana, Don Claudio Gay: Su vida y sus obras (1876).

Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820–1980 (1989), p. 68.

Additional Bibliography

Mizón, Luis. Claudio Gay y la formación de la identidad cultural chilena. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria: Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana, 2001.

Saldivia Maldonado, Zenobio. La visión de la naturaleza en tres científicos del siglo XIX en Chile: Gay, Domeyko y Philippi. Santiago de Chile: Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Facultad de Humanidades, Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, 2003.

                                           Marta Garsd