Robert Bateman is a renowned Canadian artist who hopes to help people reconnect with nature through his paintings. The Royal Canadian Mint releases commemorative coins every year that celebrate people, places, plants, and animals that are significant to Canadian culture. By featuring the work of Bateman on the back of a 2022 $30 silver coin, it celebrates both Bateman himself and the natural world that inspires him.
Who Is Robert Bateman?
Born in 1930, Robert Bateman is an internationally renowned Canadian artist. He has exhibited his work in venues around the world. His paintings, typically done in acrylic, have been included in the art collections of royalty and still sell for significant sums. Bateman is also a naturalist, and much of the profits he earns from the sale of his artwork, the originals as well as limited edition prints, go to support environmental causes, including his own Bateman Foundation, which promotes environmental sustainability and preservation.
Interestingly, Bateman originally viewed painting as a hobby and never expected to make a career out of it. Fascinated by the natural world from an early age, he originally painted nature in the abstract, citing Franz Kline as an influence. He switched from abstract painting to realism during the 1960s and has worked in that style ever since.
The definitive collection of Bateman’s works is available for viewing at the Bateman Gallery in Victoria, British Columbia. Bateman has been recognized as one of the 20th century’s top 100 environmental proponents by the Audubon Society of Canada.
What Is Significant About the Snowy Owl Coin?
The commemorative coin features an engraving of a famous Bateman painting called “Snowy Owl on Driftwood.” Bateman, who painted the original in 1983, said that he liked to imagine where the driftwood originated and what it had had to go through before becoming a perch for the elegant snowy owl, the most famous bird in Canada. “Snowy Owl on Driftwood” is one of Bateman’s works that is also sold as limited edition prints.
The coin is not as large as the original painting and it is a different shape, so it is not an exact replica of the painting. Nevertheless, the engraving shows the same commitment to realism and attention to detail in recreating the quiet strength and determination of the owl in its steely gaze, the individual feathers of its plumage, and the weathered appearance of the driftwood attesting to the perilous journey it must have made to reach its final destination. In the original painting, the owl and the driftwood are along the edge of what appears to be a lake, and the gentle waves also appear in the background of the coin’s engraving.
In addition to recreating the painting, the design also includes an engraved recreation of Bateman’s signature, just as it would appear on the hand-signed limited-edition prints of his work. Additional text on the back of the coin includes the face value of 30 dollars, the year of its release (2022), and the word “CANADA” indicating its country of origin.
The Royal Canadian Mint Offers a Priceless Work of Art You Can Hold in the Palm of Your Hand
It is rare for an artist of Robert Bateman’s calibre to gain the recognition that he has while he is still alive. Both the artist and his work are Canadian national treasures. Limited-edition prints of Bateman’s work sell for over $1,000 and of course, the originals are worth considerably more. Even if you can never afford a Bateman original or a print, these Canadian coins allow you to own a small piece of his legacy. Find the silver “Snowy Owl on Driftwood” coin and many other collectibles at Colonial Acres Coins.