JULY 1 - OCT 1, 2023

Ezra Tucker
The Art of Ezra Tucker

Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum launches nationwide traveling exhibition to be held from July 1 through October 1 in Oradell, NJ

The extraordinary work of acclaimed wildlife artist Ezra Tucker will be on display at the renowned Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, NJ this summer, with forty paintings to be exhibited from July 1 through October 1, 2023. “We are proud to be hosting the premiere dates, and the only exhibit scheduled for the New York metropolitan area, of this nationwide traveling museum exhibition that is planned to run through the end of 2025 in cities throughout the country,” explained Jim Bellis, President of the Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum. “Ezra Tucker’s mastery in illustrating the magic and majesty of wildlife through his paintings is sure to capture the attention of our visitors this summer.” The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum is recognized by wildlife conservationists, artists, and art lovers throughout the world as one of only five museums in the U.S. to exclusively display wildlife art.The traveling museum exhibition, Ezra Tucker’s first, is produced by Curator/Tour Director David J. Wagner, Ph.D.

“The Art of Ezra Tucker” exhibition will feature works produced by the artist from 1985 through 2023, with three groups of subjects: Classic Megafauna (principally North American mammals, with a few from Africa and elsewhere) and Audubonesque Birds; Untold Stories of Black Experience in the History of the American West; and Allegory, Fantasy, Illustration, and Narrative. The artist is generally known for his paintings of mammals, but he also portrays birds as well as historic scenes. Ezra Tucker’s wildlife art is characterized by its dynamic composition, unexpected color, lighting, and large scale, which gives a sense of dignity and presence to each creature. His subjects seem alive and animated, ready to step out of two dimensions into a three-dimensional world. Through exceptional drawing skills and scientific knowledge from careful study, a hallmark of Tucker’s art is his ability to achieve a bold, romantic look by using a color palette and lighting that is familiar yet new, with earth tones and warm light that give his subjects the glow of an old master’s work.

The artist says, “The challenge I have for myself is to present the beauty and majesty of the natural world to encourage the preservation of wildlife and diversity through my art. A successful work of fine art should be educational, inspirational, and entertaining and evoke an emotional response from the viewer. I hope that my work inspires people to undertake the conservation efforts necessary to protect the endangered animal kingdom of our planet.”  

With a professional background as a commercial illustrator and designer, Ezra Tucker is the son of a Memphis minister who pastored during the era of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the grandson, brother, and nephew of Pentecostal ministers. The fifth of six children whose parents moved from the farm to the city and raised their family by their bootstraps, the artist’s story is one of adaptation, growth, and extraordinary achievement. He recalls when, at the age of five or six, he happened to see an older church member’s bible with inspiring illustrations, which led him to hours of drawing scenes related to the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, and the Book of Revelation. As a child, he was transfixed by the television images of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Tarzan movies, The American Sportsman, Disney films, and animal documentaries and would spend hours in the school library, searching for books, short stories, and magazines with fiction or nonfiction tales of wildlife adventures from around the world. His interests in archeology, history, science, and geography always seemed to intersect with his love of animals, fueled by his adventurous imagination, so young Ezra would create everything from dioramas of prehistoric dinosaurs made of clay to painted cardboard cutout figures from Noah’s Ark and other biblical scenes.

As Tucker matured, so did his art, and he was encouraged to think about a career in the graphic arts. In 1967, his brother gifted him the book “Animal Drawing: Anatomy and Action for Artists” by Charles Knight, which challenged him to draw animals from the inside out. When his parents purchased, on credit, the World Book Encyclopedias, he scoured the entire 24-volume set and spent thousands of hours copying paintings, drawings, maps, photos, and graphs. In the early 1970s, when the Memphis Board of Education began integrating its public schools, Tucker was a student at Hamilton High School, where his talent allowed him to take senior-level art classes for four years. He was accepted into and worked his way through the Memphis Academy of Arts, where his life drawing instructor and mentor Jack Lew allowed him to practice drawing at the Memphis Zoological Gardens instead of in the studio, filling sketchbooks with animal drawings for his class assignments. After earning a BFA with honors in 1977, Tucker began his career as an illustrator for Hallmark Cards and flourished with commercial art contract work in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, working on advertising campaigns for numerous notable corporate clients. In the 1980s, he settled in California and began to transition from illustrator to fine artist before moving to Colorado, where he devoted himself to a full-fledged career as an independent artist. Since then, Ezra Tucker’s award-winning artwork has been featured in countless galleries, hotels, museums, art institutes, military programs, and private and Fortune 500 corporate collections.


“The Art of Ezra Tucker” exhibit can be viewed from July 1 through October 1 at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, 705 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649. Admission is free, with suggested donations welcome. For hours and information, call (201) 261-0012 or visit www.blauveltartmuseum.com.

Ezra's Artworks