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The Art of Robert Bateman

September 1 to November 4, 2007

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is delighted to be the premiere and only Canadian art gallery to host The Art of Robert Bateman, a touring exhibition organized by David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director. The exhibition, reflecting the breadth and depth of Robert Bateman’s artistry, opens at the McMichael on September 1.

A native of Toronto, Robert Bateman is a name familiar to most, if not all, Canadians. Although best known around the world as a wildlife artist, Bateman’s art also encompasses other subjects – landscapes, portraits, and still lifes – each created with a careful and knowledgeable attention to the principles of composition and design. While seemingly simple, his compositions are actually quite complex. His genius lies in his ability to distil complexity into elegant simplicity thereby creating art that is accessible and enjoyable at many levels.

Now living in British Columbia, Bateman is not only a talented artist, but also a naturalist who devotes much of his time and effort to environmental concerns, especially the preservation of the natural habitats of the birds and animals he portrays so beautifully in his art. This consuming interest in the environment, its diversity and its fragility is reflected in the landscape settings in which Bateman places his subjects. As the artist writes:

I cannot conceive of anything being more varied and rich and handsome than the planet Earth. And its crowning beauty is the natural world. I want to soak it up, to understand it as well as I can, and to absorb it . . . and then I’d like to put it together and express it in my painting. This is the way I want to dedicate my life.

Clearly, through his art, and his actions, Bateman leads a life committed to the environment, boldly advancing causes in ways that few other artists have been able to do. Affiliated with several environmental organizations, he is also the recipient of many major honours and awards, including the Roland Michener Conservation Award presented by the Canadian Wildlife Federation in 2003. Bateman’s most recent honour came in June of this year when Kelowna honoured him, B.C. for his fundraising efforts in support of human rights the artist raised $3 million dollars for Amnesty International.

This current exhibition of approximately fifty beautiful works of art includes original paintings, watercolour and pen and ink drawings, and bronze sculptures. Bateman’s acrylics and oils are among the prized possessions of many private collectors, several of whom have graciously agreed to lend their paintings to this exhibition. Other lenders to The Art of Robert Bateman  include the John. L. Wehle Art Gallery; the National Museum of Wildlife Art; the Burlington Art Centre; and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. We are most appreciative of their contribution to this exceptional exhibition. Complementing the exhibition is a selection of autographed books and videos that offer further insights into Bateman’s philosophy, his life, and his work.

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Exhibition Media Partner

Toronto Sun


Interview with Robert Bateman



Evening Light - White Gyrfalcon

Robert Bateman, b.1930
Evening Light — White Gyrfalcon, 1981
acrylic on masonite
36" x 48"
From the Collection of the Burlington Art Centre, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Red-crowned Crane Pair

Robert Bateman , b.1930
Red-crowned Crane Pair, 2001
acrylic on board
21" x 21"
Private Collection

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