Located in Peabody Hall at the Zoo

April 18 through October 31, 2014
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily

The newest exhibit in Peabody Hall, Inspired by Nature, is a collection of stunning original paintings by internationally acclaimed wildlife artist and conservationist, Robert Bateman. This beautiful exhibition was made possible through the generous bequest of longtime Zoo donors, C. C. Johnson and Edith Spink.

The Exhibit

Escape to a temperature-controlled haven where a buffalo roams, an eagle soars and a rhino storms. A coyote stands nobly, a black wolf silhouettes against a night sky and a tiger emerges in the dawn. Inspired by Nature features more than 20 major wildlife paintings in Bateman's portfolio, including Majesty on the Wing, Master of the Herd and Power Play.

The exhibition will also be the focus of various Education Department programs and activities that give visitors and members an opportunity to explore their own artistic skills. The Zoo will be partnering with Bateman's Get to Know Program, designed to employ art contests, events and other techniques to connect young people with the animals and plants of their local natural areas throughout Canada and the U.S.

The exhibit is located in Peabody Hall in the Zoo's Historic Hill through 2014.

The Art

Majesty on the Wing, featuring a bald eagle
"The air is the eagle's domain, and in Majesty on the Wing I wanted to capture the presence of the atmosphere. The wings seem to seize volumes of air. I have orchestrated the shapes of the snow patches to echo the strokes of the wing feathers and to emphasize the thrust of the bird through the air. I have usually observed bald eagles in a landscape of sombre power and that is the mood I sought to portray." -Robert Bateman, from The Art of Robert Bateman

Master of the Herd, featuring an African buffalo
"The African buffalo is massive, wild and aggressive, with highly developed sight, hearing and smell. The bull buffalo is considered by most expert hunters to be the most dangerous game in Africa, for when wounded it will frequently circle back and wait in ambush for the hunter. Here the herd has been disturbed and has churned up dust, the egrets are flying away, and the bull has turned toward the intruder. The basic concept for this painting is a big letter T, which I want to hit you like a Mack Truck. To give a little lyric twist, I echoed the form of the bull's horns in the two egrets that are slipping off to one side. I sketched them in quickly and intuitively at first, and then went through the long rigamarole of sculpting the birds and drawing them from the sculptures." -Robert Bateman, from The Art of Bateman

Power Play, featuring a rhinoceros
"Rhinos are one of the most impressive and massive land mammals, and they do not usually fool around. If they were to play, their only games would be power plays. A charging bull elephant is often bluffing -- not so the rhino. A rhino will make a pretty serious mess out of any vehicle, which has not helped their fight for survival. Rhinos can handle any natural threat but not modern man and his high-power bullets...To keep this magnificent beast from extinction, we need a global power play to abolish rhino poaching and the money that supports it. I painted Power Play to raise funds to abolish illegal rhino horn trade and to save this 7-million-year-old species from extinction." -Robert Bateman, from robertbateman.ca

Other paintings featured in "Inspired by Nature"
Continuing Generations,
features a young spotted owl
Continuing Generations, features a mother spotted owl
Coyote in Winter Sage, features a coyote
Midnight, features a black wolf
Golden Eagle, features a golden eagle
Tiger at Dawn, features a tiger
Winter Sunset, features a moose
Across the Sky, features snow geese
At the Roadside, features a red-tailed hawk
Blacksmith Plover, features a blacksmith plover
Burrowing Owl, features a burrowing owl
Evening Grosbeaks, features evening grosbeaks
Heron on the Rocks, features a great blue heron
House Finch on Yucca, features a house finch
Pair of Skimmers, features two skimmers
Pioneer Memories, features two magpies
Royal Family, features a mute swan and cygnets
White-throated Sparrow and Pussy Willow, features a white-throated sparrow

The Artist

Robert Bateman, a native of Toronto, has maintained his strong interest in wildlife since his youth. Over his 50 plus year career as a wildlife artist, Bateman's work has been in exhibitions in England, Monaco, Japan, South Africa, Russia, and throughout Canada and the U.S., including a major show at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

He has also worked to inspire young artists, wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists around the world. He has received much recognition, including being named by the National Audubon Society as one of the 20th Century's 100 Champions of Conservation in 1998. His ability as an artist to observe, record and bring to life the beauty and majesty of a golden eagle plummeting from a mountaintop, a moose making tracks in the snow, or a white-throated sparrow singing atop a stem has truly helped many people develop a closer connection to nature, something that is also at the core of the Zoo's mission.

Bateman, who resides in British Columbia, is very excited about the Zoo's exhibition and is planning to make a special visit during the two-year period it will be open.

Fun Fact

Canada's wedding present to Prince Charles was a Bateman painting!

Hours and Admission

April 18 through October 31, 2014
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily

Admission is free.

About Peabody Hall

Originally an elephant house which kept such celebrities as Miss Jim, the building was fully renovated to become an exhibit hall and rental facility. Its debut exhibit, Zootennial presented by First Bank, opened in May 2010, and was bedecked with photos, memories, quotes, interactive displays, old shows, and even Phil the Gorilla to commemorate the Saint Louis Zoo's first 100 years. Inspired by Nature is the second exhibit in Peabody Hall and is slated to run through 2014.