Robert Bateman - Merganser Duckling
This sculpture was made as a reference for my painting, Merganser Family in Hiding. I had no photographic reference, and museum specimens of baby birds leave something to be desired. Typical museum specimens are smooth and elongated so that they can fit into storage trays. Baby waterfowl are far from shapeless; they are very sculptural in form. Feathers do not disguise the various pieces of their anatomy. The coating of fuzz, if anything, exaggerates the concave and convex forms. The living bird is a little work of art of its own. Mergansers are, of course, a member of the duck family. The main difference between mergansers and other ducks is the elongated bill with a slightly crooked tip and a row of teeth along the sides. This makes it an admirable fish feeder. Virtually every summer since I was eight years old, I have been visiting a particular lake in north country. The main breeding duck in the area is the American merganser. Each summer we look forward to the little parade of mothers and young making their way around the shoreline. They are feeding on baby fish, which have conveniently timed their hatching to inadvertently aid in the merganser’s growth. At the first sign of danger, the mother makes a low noise, and the whole family goes into hiding. As a boy, I sometimes did something I would now forbid my children to do. I would follow them in a canoe to get a better look. On one occasion, I caught one of the nestlings and did a quick little painting of it. I then found the family and put it among the rocks where the others were hiding, so I am sure the story had a happy ending. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that this little painting done at the age of 15 was my best source of reference for the sculpture and painting I did over 30 years later. - RB

Robert Bateman - Merganser Duckling

Release Year: 1983
Size: 4 high
Form: bronze sculpture on marble base
Edition Size: 250 numbered and signed

Product Code: BATME2
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