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Robert Bateman Homage To Ahmed

Robert Bateman

290 Signed & Numbered Original Lithograph
29.375" x 41.25"
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Ahmed was the last of the great large tuskers. He lived in Kenya and was protected as a symbol
of Kenyan wildlife by special presidential decree. Ahmed was guarded by two armed rangers 24
hours a day, from 1970 until he died in 1974. Ahmed was not gigantic, but it wasn't necessarily
the largest or the oldest of the male elephants that had the largest tusks -- the great tuskers
simply had it in their genes.

Ahmed is walking -- nearly striding -- looking mature and handsome, with his curved tusks gleaming.
My intention was not to be threatening; Ahmed is not charging. His tusks are down, and they are
very, very big. As an artist, I found the most interesting aspect of the image to be the treatment
of the wrinkles at the centre of his face, between his eyes and below his forehead between his tusks.

"Homage to Ahmed" was created to raise funds to help combat ivory poaching. This is more a picture
about ivory than it is about an elephant. It is part of the sad commentary on man's interference
with the world that these great large tuskers were selectively hunted for centuries, both by
collectors and trophy shooters. As the largest tusks were preferred, such hunting hastened the
elimination of large tusk genes from the breeding pool. This was the end of an historic phenomenon
that has occurred since elephants have been around -- millions of years. No more great
tuskers will be produced on Earth.

I wanted this picture to be large and impressive and confrontational because it is about that kind
of issue -- the ivory trade. In 1980, there were 70,000 elephants in Kenya. Now there are fewer
than 16,000. The demand for ivory on the international market had a resurgence in 1970, when
the price of ivory increased. By the late 1970's, thousands of elephants have been slaughtered
for trinkets - jewellery, piano keys, billiard balls - decorative items that sit on the shelf or the
mantel and collect dust. It doesn't seem to me to be a cause worthy of the destruction of such
a beautiful animal. We have to hope that people will simply stop buying ivory, especially in
Far East countries where the ivory trade is the heaviest.


 Robert Bateman Signature 

Original Lithograph - 29.5" x 41.5" - 1990 - Homage To Ahmed - Robert Bateman


Original Prints - Lithographs 

"The process of original printmaking apeals to me because it is a human process; 
it involves no complex optical equipment other than my own eyes. I believe that
technology often separates us from nature, and I like the idea that my 
original prints are made by hand."
Robert Bateman


Original lithography is an art form ideally suited to the work of Robert Bateman, who appreciates the direct,
hands-on involvement this process affords an artist.Comments Bateman, " In a world steeped in technology, I admire tradition and the old methods. There is a great pleasure in making something by handand in using  skills that are hundreds of years old. "One of the reasons I enjoy printmaking is the broad range of tone and texture the process allows;I am often reminded of the old masters, particularly the etxhings of Rembrandt. I also enjoy drawing directly on the stone. It's 'tooth, 'or texture, gives a solid, warm feeling which brings to mind the ancient seas in which the rare Bavarian limestone was formed."


Since the process of original lithography was first developed in 1798, many great artists have made memorable original lithographs in their own distinctive style. Among them is Robert Bateman, celebrated artist and naturalist known the world over. Artists especially value the lithographic process because it faithfully reproduces their line drawings and brush strokes and offers them great creative freedom. Original lithography produces a wide range of tonal values andtextures. It is a process that requires time as well as the skilled hand of a master printer  working in concert with the artist. Collectors prize original lithographsbecause no two are ever exactly the same. 

This is because an original lithograph in not a reproduction - each is an original and unique work of art. The artist  makes separate drawings, one for each colorto be printed, directly on the working surface (commonly stone or Mylar film ) to create individual plates. An original lithograph must pass through the press onetime for each color it contains. Hand coloring may be added later. Consequently, each original lithograph possesses its own unique characteristics.These Original prints of Robert Bateman bring together a time-honored tradition and a legendary artist - one whose vision is always as original as it is compelling. 



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Original Lithograph - 29.5" x 41.5" - 1990 - Homage To Ahmed - Robert Bateman

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