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Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson
Usage Conditions Apply
Jennie Summerall, born 1959
Edward Osborne Wilson, born 10 Jun 1929
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 147 x 116.8cm (57 7/8 x 46")
Frame: 152.1 x 121.9 x 4.4cm (59 7/8 x 48 x 1 3/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© 2006 Jennie Summerall
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Birmingham, Alabama
Biologist Edward O. Wilson-two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction-has been a leader of the biodiversity movement since the 1980s. Trained as an entomologist specializing in ant biology, Wilson has ranged from New Guinea and Sri Lanka to the Smithsonian Institution for his work. His groundbreaking Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) was a controversial study that examined the biological basis of social behavior in all kinds of organisms, including vertebrates, with links to evolutionary biology. A hallmark of his later work has been an attempt to bridge the gap between science and the culture at large, as in Consilience: The Unity of Life (1998).
Artist Jennie Summerall posed Wilson in a setting reminiscent of the landscape on Lignum Vitae Key in Florida, which he helped preserve. Based on photographic images, the painting references Wilson's earlier studies on ant populations, while depicting him as he looks today.
The artist; purchased 2007 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
20th Century Americans: 2000 to Present
On View
NPG, South Gallery 341