About The Artist/Art
About Robert Bateman
Born in Toronto, Robert Bateman has been a keen artist and naturalist from his early days. He always painted wildlife and nature, beginning with a representational style, moving through impressionism and cubism to abstract expressionism. In his early thirties he moved back to realism as a more suitable way to express the particularity of the planet. It is this style that has made him one of the foremost artists depicting the world of nature.
In the ’70s and early ’80s, his work received critical acclaim and attracted an enormous following. In 1982, his first one-man show in the United States took place at Gallery One.
He soon was commissioned by the Governor-General of Canada to create a painting (Northern Reflections – Loon Family) as the official Canadian wedding gift for Prince Charles. Museums and noted collectors such as Prince Philip, the late Princess Grace and Prince Bernhard sought his images.
Bateman’s 1987 exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. attracted record-breaking crowds. A plane-load of Gallery One collectors were privileged to attend the opening festivities and enjoy a private tour of the exhibition conducted by the artist.
His honors, awards and honorary doctorates are numerous; he was made Officer of the Order of Canada, that country’s highest civilian award. He was awarded the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. He also has been the subject of three films and several video productions. Three books of his art, The Art of Robert Bateman, The World of Robert Bateman, and Robert Bateman: An Artist in Nature, have made publishing history. A fourth book of his art, Robert Bateman: Natural Worlds, focuses on the importance of natural and cultural heritage. Safari, an illustrated book for young readers, contains first-hand accounts and interesting facts about African wildlife. Thinking Like a Mountain, details Bateman’s environmental philosophies and observations and includes pencil sketches throughout. Released in 2002, Birds, is lavishly illustrated and filled with Bateman’s insightful reflections on bird life.
It is in honor of his contributions to art and conservation that both a public school and a secondary school in Canada have been named after him. With a degree in geography from the University of Toronto, Bateman taught high school for 20 years, including two years in Nigeria. He traveled around the world in a Land Rover in 1957-58, increasing his appreciation of cultural and natural heritage. Since leaving teaching in 1976 to paint full time, he has traveled widely with his wife, Birgit, to many remote natural areas.
Bateman’s art reflects his commitment to ecology and preservation. He has become a spokesman for many environmental and preservation issues and has used his artwork and limited edition prints in fund-raising efforts which have provided millions of dollars for these worthy causes. Locally, his efforts helped raise $33,000 to benefit the Red Brick Schoolhouse in Willoughby.