Krefft's Chair by Rew Hanks - 2012 | Michael Reid Gallery

Rew Hanks
Krefft’s Chair, 2012

Linocut
100 x 75 cm
edition of 30
$2,000 unframed
$2,800 framed

Gerard Krefft (1830–1881) was one of Australia’s first and leading zoologists, building up the Australian Museum’s prolific collections, and is well-recognised for his passionate studies on the theory of evolution. In addition to writing many scientific papers, Krefft most notably investigated the Queensland lungfish, the creature sitting below his chair, suggesting it could be the ‘missing link’ between fish and amphibians.

While Krefft was director of the Australian Museum between 1864 and 1874, he built up the museum’s collections and won international repute as a scientist. He corresponded in the 1860s with Charles Darwin (pictured top right) and was one of the few Australian scientists to accept Darwin's theory of evolution and disseminate his ideas. In addition to such activities, Krefft also created some of the best records of Australian species, many of which are now extinct including the Thylacine framed above Klefft’s chair.

Devoted to the museum’s interests, Krefft clashed with the trustees, most of whom were building up private collections at the expense of the museum’s. The staunchly conservative religious views of the board of trustees also strongly opposed Krefft’s radical theories on evolution. After various allegations of drunkenness and theft Krefft was eventually dismissed from the Museum in 1874. Refusing to vacate his office, Krefft was carried out of from the museum whilst still sitting in his chair – the chair which now resides outside the boardroom at the Australian Museum as if patiently waiting for the next dismissal.

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