RTPI presents Roger Tory Peterson’s Penguins February 8 to May 5

Photo submitted to Times Observer Roger Tory and Virdgina Peterson amongst King Penguins.

“‘Comical’ – ‘Adorable’ – ‘The little fellow in the dress suit,’ et cetera. It is tempting to be anthropomorphic about penguins. Using human comparisons, it is easy to think of them as little clowns, the ridiculous dwarfs that enliven the circus, waddling with baggy pants across the arena for our amusement. They are far from that; they are not little people dressed in feathers. They are highly specialized birds dedicated to penguinism, a life molded by the cold impersonal sea, harsh climate, and the crowded colonies in which they reproduce.”

Visit RTPI’s galleries beginning Friday, Feb. 8, to view some of Peterson’s beloved penguins depicted through original black and white illustrations and photography. Peterson gave a personal view of his favorite family of birds when he completed his book Penguins, published in 1979. The book includes photographic essays and 137 original illustrations by the artist.

Also included in the exhibition are personal artifacts worn and used by Peterson, as well as original correspondence regarding the completion of Penguins.

“There are 17 kinds of penguins; I have seen and photographed them all in the course of more than a dozen expeditions to the Antarctic and the Subantarctic in as many years. However, not all penguins are found in frigid surroundings; indeed, one, the least numerous, reaches the Equator in the Galapagos, a tropical archipelago that I have visited six times. I agree with Gaylord George Simpson; penguins are habit forming. I am an addict.”

For more information about this or other exhibitions from the Peterson Collection, contact Jane Johnson at (716) 665-2473, ext. 228, or email at jjohnson@rtpi.org.

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