The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 14, 2024

Evolution II (Chimpanzee and Man)

Evolution II (Chimpanzee and Man)

1984, printed 1999
(American, b. 1948)
Image: 20 x 20.6 cm (7 7/8 x 8 1/8 in.); Framed: 46.5 x 46.5 cm (18 5/16 x 18 5/16 in.)
© Nancy Burson
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Working with two MIT engineers, artist Nancy Burson developed the technique of computer morphing faces in the late 1980s.


In this image, Nancy Burson combined the face of a man with that of a chimpanzee. Ignoring the intermediate steps, Burson leapfrogs through the extremely long complex process of evolution to depict a single moment of transition between two species. It is not a scientifically accurate image of evolution, but an imaginary portrait that links humans with one of their genetic ancestors.
  • 1999
    Studio of the Artist
    (Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA)
    John J. McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH
    March 2, 2020
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Burson, Nancy, Richard Carling, and David Kramlich. Composites: Computer-Generated Portraits. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1986.
    Burson, Nancy, Michael L. Sand, Lynn Gumpert, Terrie Sultan, and Christopher C. French. Seeing and Believing: The Art of Nancy Burson. Santa Fe, N.M.: Twin Palms, 2002.
  • {{cite web|title=Evolution II (Chimpanzee and Man)|url=false|author=Nancy Burson|year=1984, printed 1999|access-date=14 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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