Robert Bateman Biography, Style & Paintings

Robert Bateman: Guardian of Nature
By Melissa Montgomery


Canada is very proud to be the birthplace of Robert Bateman. His love and respect for nature has melded into an international career both in art and in books. Robert was born in Toronto in 1930. From an early age Robert was interested in nature and began to paint wildlife while in his teens.

The Don Watershed was directly behind the house where he grew up, and Robert had the opportunity to observe and sketch wildlife without leaving the city. For a young child, this was an invaluable and unparalleled urban resource. Birds, squirrels, toads and the odd owl were Robert’s first subjects. When Robert was twelve he began art classes with the painter Gordon Payne. Robert exchanged his natural and realistic style to that which was in vogue: cubism, impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

After graduating from High School in 1950, Robert attended the University of Toronto where he obtained a BA in Geography. Then he attended and The Ontario College of Education. He worked at the Fish Research Station of the Wildlife Regional Camp while in school. This no doubt gave him more valuable experience viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. Upon graduation, Robert worked for the Geological Survey of Canada researching and drawing maps of Canadian terrain. He also worked for a mining company in the far north which added to his knowledge of the great outdoor terrain of Canada.
Robert had planned on becoming a teacher and did so for twenty years in Ontario. After attending an Andrew Wyeth exhibition in New York, he felt the need to paint. He moved to Nigeria where he began to teach Geography. He painted the surrounding wildlife on his off hours. He was introduced to a woman who had an art studio and Nairobi and she insisted on exhibiting his work. She had many European clients and gradually Robert’s realistic portrayals of wildlife began to sell.


Robert returned to Canada in 1965 and continued teaching. He has his first one man show in 1967 and it was a success. Throughout the next decade, Robert began to sell his work for higher and higher prices. Soon Robert became unable to teach because of the overwhelming success of his art work. He retired from teaching in the late 1970’s. Today Robert and his wife, artist Birgit Freybe live on Salt Spring Island. He continues to paint and lecture about the importance of protecting wildlife. He has an international reputation and has exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC as well as Europe. His work is in many collections belonging to royalty and regular folk alike. He has published six books and been featured in over fifty publications. His son Alan and his wife Holly are both painters- they are continuing the legacy of great Canadian Painters!

Relevant links:

  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
  Abstract Impressionism
  Action Art
  African Art
  African Masks
  Albert Bierstadt
  Alberta College of Art and Design
  Albrecht Durer
  American Gothic
  Andre Derain
  Andrea del Castagno
  Andy Warhol
  Angela Grossmann
  Antique Art
  Art Deco
  Art Events in Alberta
  Art Events in BC
  Art Galleries in Vancouver
  Art Informel
  Art Nouveau
  Arthur Rackham
  Arts and Crafts
  Ash Can School
  Auguste Rodin
  Barbizon School
  Beethoven Frieze
  Bill Reid
  Black Mountain College
  Body Art
  Body Painting
  Brian Jungen
  Byzantine Art
  Camille Pissarro
  Chaim Soutine
  Claude Monet
  Color Field Art
  Davida Kidd
  De Stijl
  Der Blaue Reiter
  Diego Velasquez Las Meninas
  Diego Velazquez
  Dragon Art
  Dutch Proverbs
  Edgar Degas
  Edouard Manet
  Edvard Munch
  Egyptian Art
  Emily Carr
  Emily Carr University of Art and Design
  Ernest Daetwyler
  Europe after the Rain
  Fantasy Art
  Fine Art Resources
  Fine Art Schools
  Fred Herzog
  Georges Seurat
  Georgia OKeeffe
  Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife
  Girl with a Pearl Earring
  Glass Blowing
  Gong Xian
  Gothic Art
  Graffiti Art
  Grey Art Gallery
  Group of Seven
  Hans Holbein the Younger
  Hans von Aachen
  Harlem Renaissance
  Henna Body Art
  Henri Matisse
  Holger Kalberg
  Hudson River School
  I and the Village
  Indian River School
  James Whistler
  Jan van Eyck
  Jean Michel Basquiat
  Jeff Koons
  Jennifer Kostuik Gallery
  Joan Miro
  Joe Average
  Johannes Vermeer
  John Everett Millais
  John Singer Sargent
  John William Waterhouse
  Joseph Mallord William Turner
  Judy Chicago
  Keith Haring
  La Parade du Cirque
  Las Meninas
  Leonard Cohen
  Leonardo da Vinci
  Liberty Leading the People
  Los Angeles Art Schools
  Lucien Freud
  Luncheon of the Boating Party
  Marc Chagall
  Marcel Duchamp
  Marriage of the Virgin
  Mary Cassatt
  Maurice Utrillo
  Max Liebermann
  Medieval Art
  Mona Lisa
  Museum for African Art NYC
  Naive Art
  Nelson Art Galleries
  Norman Rockwell
  Okanagan Art Galleries
  Ontario College of Art and Design
  Op Art
  Otto Dix
  Pablo Picasso
  Patrick Swift
  Paul Cezanne
  Paul Gauguin
  Paul Klee
  Peter von Tiesenhausen
  Photography Art
  Pop Art
  Post Impressionism
  Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
  Richard Krentz
  Robert Bateman
  Salvador Dali
  San Francisco Art Institute
  Sand Art
  Sleeping Gypsy
  Steven Shearer
  Tattoo Art
  The Birth of Venus
  The Bloomsbury Group
  The Creation of Adam
  The Fall of the Damned
  The Frick Collection NYC
  The Garden of Earthly Delights
  The Grainstack
  The Highwaymen
  The Kiss
  The Persistence of Memory
  The Potato Eaters
  The Renaissance
  The School of Athens
  The Scream
  The Starry Night
  The Virgins
  Thomas Moran
  Universal Judgment
  Van Dyck
  Van Gogh
  Vancouver Island Art Galleries
  View of Toledo
  Vincent van Gogh
  Watercolor Painting
  West Vancouver Art Galleries
  Whistler Art Galleries
  Yeu Ting Kwong