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Two Lillys

AT INSTITUTO BIOLÓGICO

In addition to Lilly Ebstein Lowenstein, another Lilly, Althausen as a surname, a German immigrant as well and former student at the Lette-Verein School, worked in Instituto Biológico’s Illustration Department.

A curious coincidence is that Instituto Biológico’s Illustration Department had an employee and chief-illustrator - Lilly Althausen, who was born in Germany in 1890, and studied at the Lette-Verein School in Berlin too. She immigrated to Brazil in the mid-30s and became an employee at Instituto Biológico as a microscopy illustrator in 1937. She was definitively appointed as an illustrator in 1941, the same year she took on her Brazilian citizenship. Biológico’s director, Henrique da Rocha Lima, wrote this same year: “I hereby request the effective appointment of hired illustrator Mrs. Lilly Althausen for the position she has held for the past four years with notable and unanimously renowned competence, skill and productivity. Such qualities amply justify this request and the wish of all I. Biológico technicians interested in scientific illustrations, that it should not lose such valuable collaboration from this expert illustrator”. In the following year, 1942, she was appointed “expert illustrator” at Instituto Biológico and in 1944 became chief-illustrator following the passing of Antonio Reynaldo, a position she held until her retirement in 1969. Her illustrations constitute the largest collection of illustrations at Biológico. [1]

Instituto Biológico’s collection includes 850 illustrations by in-house illustrators, maintained in their Centro de Memória (Heritage Center), where another 180.000 text documents are also stored.

The two Lillys probably did not work at the same time in Instituto Biológico, but in the book Doenças das Aves – Manual Prático by José Reis, published in 1945, one can find works by both of them, Lilly Althausen and Lilly Ebstein, together in the same publication.

[1] Rebouças, M. M. e Campos Farinha, A.E. de, “Ilustradores Científicos do Instituto Biológico: Uma Contribuição para a Ciência”. In: www.biologico.sp.gov. br/docs/pag/v2_1/reboucas1.htm. e D’Agostini, S., Vitiello, N. e Rebouças, M. M. “Coleções Históricas do Instituto Biológico: Série Ilustrações Científicas”, in: www.biologico.sp.gov.br/docs/pag/v3_1/ilustracao.htm

Lilly Ebstein Lowenstein (1897-1966) led a life between science and art, drawing and taking photographs in the fields of Medicine and Zoology. In her work, Lilly combined her technical knowledge of photography and drawing, the study of the sciences and a remarkable talent for aesthetics. She was born in Germany and studied at the Lette-Verein School in Berlin from 1911 to 1914. In 1925, she immigrated with her husband and two children to São Paulo. In 1926, she became an illustrator and photomicrographer at the Illustration and Photography Department at the School of Medicine (USP, as of 1934), which she headed for thirty years after 1932. Lilly collaborated at Instituto Biológico de Defesa Agrícola e Animal (the Biological Institute for the Defense of Agriculture and Animals), from 1930 to 1935, namely in the Avian Pathology Department. A life with art dedicated to the research and dissemination of science.