Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, 37 Ladybugs,


37 Ladybirds, 1976

Digital print from original watercolour

Edition of 20

29.7 x 42 cm


Cornelia Hesse-Honegger

37 Ladybugs, 1976

Digital print from original watercolour

Edition of 20

29.7 x 42 cm

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger’s 37 ladybugs image, shows the wing designs on their backs. She made these very high quality prints from her original water-colours. The artist found all of these in Switzerland. She made the original studies early in her career. At that time she was training herself in accurate observation and recording. It predates her pioneering research into the effects of nuclear fallout. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the extreme technical ability which enabled her to do such important work. Some of these types of ladybird are probably extinct by now.

The beginnings of the artist’s bug study: 37 Ladybirds

I completed an apprenticeship as a scientific illustrator at the University of Zurich’s Zoological Institute in the early 1960s. Following this, I continued to work there for twenty-five years, mostly drawing flies for taxonomic identification. At the age of twenty-four, I was given the assignment to draw mutated fruit flies.  I then started also to paint and sculpt them in clay at home. The disturbed faces of these mutated insects were to determine my future.

After moving to the countryside with my family in 1976, I started to paint leaf bugs, spiders, and ladybird beetles on graph paper. This was a practice that formed the foundation for my later research. In 1985, I decided to go back to painting mutated laboratory flies, considering them to be the prototypes of a new man-made nature. No longer poisoned with chemicals as they had been in the 1960s, these later generations had been irradiated with X-rays.

About the artist

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, an exhibitor in Bugs Beauty and Danger works at the interface between art and science. Her work testifies to the beauties of an increasingly endangered nature. Describing herself as a ‘science artist,’ Cornelia worked for 25 years, as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. From 1969 onwards, she collected and painted true bugs Heteroptera.

Cornelia is the daughter of the well-known Swiss artist Gottfried Honegger (1917-2016) and her mother was also an artist and illustrator, Warja Lavater. The artist has written many learned articles about her work. She has also been interviewed frequently. See the more detailed information on Cornelia Hesse-Honegger’s page on this website

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger went on to conduct pioneering research about the effects of nuclear fallout on true bugs (Heteroptera)

See the other works by Cornelia, also for sale.

Cornelia has collected, studied and painted morphologically disturbed insects, mostly true bugs, since the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986 . She found them in the fallout areas of Chernobyl as well as in the proximity of many other nuclear installations. She proved convincingly that the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, or normal working nuclear power plants contaminates vegetation where it hits ground. Also, insects like true bugs become to a certain extent morphologically disturbed.

Her field studies have taken place mostly in Switzerland, but also in many other locations including Sellafield in the UK. Based on these, she concludes that normal working nuclear power plants and nuclear installations are a terrible threat to nature and cause deformities on true bugs, Heteroptera. As a result of this long-term research, she and independent scientists can prove that even the lowest amount of radiation can cause cancer, illnesses, mutations and deformations. She has consequently published many studies highlighting this issue. She also exhibits her watercolours and prints internationally at museums and galleries

Additional information

Weight 1.0 kg
Dimensions 29.7 × 42 cm

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