"The motivation behind my sculpture comes from an early childhood fascination with animal life and the natural world. The goal of my work is to place hands on, accessible public art works which, through their character and natural appeal, foster an appreciation and respect for animal life." -Eric Berg
Eric Berg, renowned animal sculptor, grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He attended The Hill School, then moved with his family to Allentown. He now lives in Philadelphia, but spends several months a year at his farm in Chautauqua County, New York.
Berg initially studied business, earning a bachelor's degree from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in 1968. Upon graduation, he decided to engage his love of animals through the study of art and entered the MFA program at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his degree in 1974.
After graduation, he received his first commission for the Philadelphia Zoo and his work can be seen throughout the country today, including the Everglades National Park, Royal Palm, Florida; the Please Touch Museum and the Museum of Natural History in Philadelphia; and Museums as far away as Colorado, Virginia, Texas and New Mexico.
Throughout the years, Berg has completed over forty-four public commissions at zoos, parks, museums and universities around the United States. His smaller works, including bronze maquettes of the life-size public pieces, have been shown in galleries throughout the country.
Berg's work embodies his fascination with the natural world and the dignified portrayal of his subjects. His work allows the public to experience his pieces "hands-on."
Other commissions created by Berg include a sea turtle installed at the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden and Massa the Gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo. Philbert, the grandest of all piggy banks, is at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
In July 1995, the James A. Michener Art Museum was awarded a Pennsylvania Legislative Initiative Grant to create a sculpture and an educational curriculum outreach program based on author Eric Knight's famous fictional character, Lassie. The museum commissioned Eric Berg to create a bronze life-size sculpture of Lassie and it can be viewed outside the Doylestown Public Library.
Eric Berg, photo courtesy of the artist