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By Priscilla W Chandra

The Art of Fernando Botero First Edition, 2017 Priscilla Wanda Chandra Copyright Š2017 by Priscilla Wanda Chandra. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronically, mechanically, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except with a prior permission from author. ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0 Printed and bound in Indonesia.

















Fernando Botero


Man on a Horse, 1984; White Marble


The Artist Born as Fernando Botero Angulo on April 19, 1932, Botero is a Colombian painter and sculptor who is known internationally for his highly recognizable style of using smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in proportion in his works. This style has become known as “Boterismo.” Botero often visualizes contemporary Latin American life or atrocities such as the violence of drug wars in his native Columbia or the American abuse of power in his Abu Ghraib series in his signature style. Due to this, most of his works can be seen as a political or social critique although he has denied any satirical intention with the use of the rotund forms. During his youth, he attended a school for matadors for several years but left the bull ring to pursue a career in art. His paintings were first exhibited in 1948, when he was just 16 years old. Two years later, he had his first one-man show in Bogotá. As a youth, Botero travelled frequently. First to Bogotá, then to the countries of Europe, where influence from masterpieces he saw in Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, and Paris can be seen in his work beginning in the 1960s. Botero’s early works were inspired by pre-Colombian and Spanish colonial art, the political murals of Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and the works of Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez, who were his idols at the time. By the early 1950s, Botero has started studying painting in Madrid, where he made his living copying paintings hanging in the Prado and selling the copies to tourists. Left: Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero


Presidente, 1975; Pastel

Antonio Ventura “Minuto”, 1988; oil on canvas

Throughout the 1950s, Botero has experimented with proportion and size, and he began developing his trademark style — round, bloated humans and animals — after he moved to New York City in 1960. The inflated proportions of his figures, including those in Presidential Family (1967), suggest an element of political satire, and are depicted using a flat, bright color and prominently outlined forms — a nod to Latin-American folk art. While his work includes still-life and landscapes, Botero has typically concentrated on his emblematic situational portraiture. Botero became renowned for the varied source material that he drew upon from the Colombian folk imagery to canonical works by Diego Velázquez, Pablo Picasso, and Francisco de Goya. In his depictions of contemporary Latin American life, he portrays the poverty and violence prevalent in Colombia in somber images, as well as in his iconic inflated figures including the satiric images of Latin American presidents, first ladies, and government officials. 10

Fernando Botero

Card Players, 1999; oil on canvas

A meeting with Dorothy Miller from The Museum of Modern Art in the early 1960s has proved to be a turning point in his career; she acquired his work at a time when abstraction was the celebrated idiom, and he later exhibited his works in a major exhibition at the museum, further solidifying his international reputation. In the 1970s, Botero moved to Paris, where he created large figural sculptures with his signature inflated forms. He remains engaged with images of his Latin American home city, and with overtly political imagery. After reaching an international audience with his art, in 1973, Botero moved to Paris, where he began creating sculptures. These works extended the foundational themes of his paintings, as he again focused on his bloated subjects. By the 1990s, the outdoor exhibitions of his huge bronze figures that were staged all around the world became a great success.

Fernando Botero


In 2004, Botero turned overtly political, exhibiting a series of drawings and paintings focusing on the violence in Colombia stemming from drug cartel activities. By 2005, he unveiled his “Abu Ghraibâ€? series, which was a series based on reports of the American military forces abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. The series took him more than 14 months to complete and received considerable attention when it was first exhibited in Europe. Botero has exhibited his works at the Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, the Maillol Museum in Paris, Palazzo Venezia in Rome, Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, National Museum in BogotĂĄ, and many more. He currently lives and works in Paris, Monte Carlo, and New York.

Abu Ghraib series 46, 2005; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Life of Fernando Botero Present

Has over 50 exhibits in major cities worldwide & countless exhibitions Has donated hundreds of his pieces to many museums


Moved to Paris, France Lives and works in Paris, Monte Carlo, Pietrasanta, and New York


Visited Italy and Germany Studied work of Dürer in Munich and Nuremberg, Germany


Took up residence in New York Won Guggenheim National Prize for Colombia


Won the 9th edition of the Salón de Artistas Colombianos


Returned to Colombia

1953 1955

Studied fresco techniques and art history, Florence, Italy


Studied at San Fernando Academy and the Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain


First one-man show in Bogotá at Galería Leo Matiz, Bogotá Graduated from Medellin University


First paintings exhibited First illustrations published in the Sunday supplement of the El Colombiano, one of the most important newspapers in Medellín


Went to a Matador school for two years


Born in Medellin, Colombia Fernando Botero


Pigeon, 2014; White Marble


The Alchemist The bronze sculpture is voluptuous and full. The figure, the woman, is languid and naked. She lies on her stomach and her haunches are huge. Her body is firm and replete. Her skin as taut as a drum. Resting on her elbows, the woman brandishes a cigarette defiantly. Even though she’s totally uncovered and her immense buttocks are exposed to the elements, there is an air of quiet triumph about her. Large, sated and content she confronts the viewer with a rare sangfroid. Contrary to expectation, her nudity ennobles and empowers, imbuing her with a luminous beauty that serves to enhance her femininity. She is sensual and gorgeous like an odalisque glimpsed in a harem or in a whorehouse. And yet despite the sordidness of her possible provenance she’s neither erotic nor licentious. Botero’s figures are sphinx-like and mysterious: their expression inscrutable and difficult to read. The statuesque siren is similarly enigmatic. Has she just made love? Have we caught her seconds before she sits down to her toilette? Is she planning a rendezvous? A lovers’ tryst? There are countless scenarios, each as tantalizing as the other and yet none sufficiently compelling to explain her mood. For all their elusiveness, Botero’s works are located within a specific and readily identifiable imagined landscape, the landscape of his youth. The artist dredges the deep recesses of his personal memory and yields up vistas of Antioquia, the Andean region where he grew up. The images he evoke are redolent of the small town, provincial life of his childhood and the key coordinates of such an existence are: the churches, the marketplace, the whorehouses and the townhall, which are all represented with a deftness that is both warm and whimsical. Left: Woman with fruit, 1996; Bronze

Fernando Botero


House, 1995; oil on canvas

Whilst identifiably Colombian (and specifically Antioquian), Botero also manages to evoke the rich complexity of the hybrid mestizo world. On one hand we sense the Europeanness of the scenes; the forbidding conservatism and the Catholicism of the townspeople has parallels with the Castilian roots of many Colombians. And yet on the other hand we can never escape the pungent exoticism of the Andes and the Amerindian cultures; the Incas as well as the Wari, whose scattered archaeological remains to haunt the western seaboard. However, Botero ensures that his artistic vision, whilst particular to the Antioquia of his youth, reaches to the world outside Colombia and indeed even Latin America. Colombia’s geographical and cultural diversity also makes the work more accessible in that the country straddles four distinct Latin American environments: the Caribbean and tropical with its exuberant African milieu, the Andes with its Amerindian ethos, the expansive pastoral grasslands with their hacienda culture, as well as the Amazonian. 18

Fernando Botero

In short, Botero’s works are emblematic of the Hispanic world and the mestizo pluralism. Moreover, the rootedness of his imagery lends his works certain emotional integrity and honesty that opens up the artist’s imagined world to others. The resonance of his work was touched on by the famous Peruvian author, Maria Vargas Llosa who explains that: “Botero’s themes are unequivocally Latin American. But Latin America is a multiple reality which can be represented in diverse ways: the indigenismo of Diego Rivera and the African totems of Lam, the virgins and archangels of colonial paintings from Cuzco or Quito and the Puerto Rican ‘saints’, the dwellings of Syszlo with their pre-Hispanic traces, and the luminous Caribbean landscapes of Obregon, or the Haitian primitives, the skulls of Posada, the monsters of Cuevas, Matta’s nightmare and Berni’s figures made out of urban detritus. The very diverse works of these artists and others similar to them express some aspect of the kaleidoscope that makes up the Latin American experience.” Botero draws his subjects extensively from the European aesthetic tradition. Such as his exploration of the nude, which is a profoundly Platonic exercise. His figures with their calm, dispassionate manner as well as their lofty disengagement, (they seem to be not interested in the world immediately around them) are a way in which Botero examines the interconnectedness of the eternal verities of beauty and truth. Steeped in the western cannon, Botero have studied the masterpieces housed in Madrid’s Prado, Florence’s Uffizi and Paris’ Louvre for many years. He understands the philosophical underpinnings of the European tradition as well as its never ending quest for a balance between beauty, truth and goodness. This journey through the annals of art history is part learning and part appropriation. Botero recognizes that art is an exercise of the imagination that draws its sustenance from both human history (exemplified by the various works he observed so closely and then re-interpreted) and morality, and that it can, at its best, act as a source of solace in times of chaos and disorder.

“Art is an exercise of the imagination that draws its sustenance from both human history and morality.” Fernando Botero


Our Lady of Colombia, 1992; oil on canvas

Mademoiselle Rivere, 2000; oil on canvas

Botero is inspired to paint in his own inimitable fashion scenes taken from Velasquez and Ingres amongst others. The artist is also appropriating their works into a distinct Latin American cannon. He transmutes the Medici, Infantas, and Mademoiselle Rivière into Latin icons and thereby reveals the skein of history and culture that links the two continents together whilst also (done very discreetly) suggesting the greater exuberance and flamboyance of his own ancestry. Having studied the works of trecento and quattrocento masters, Giotto, Masaccio and Piero della Francesca, Botero has also sought to capture the other-worldliness that is a hallmark of their canvases. Whilst the techniques and styles employed are wholly different, the artist has endeavored to capture the timelessness of a Giotto landscape with its angelic and unearthly figures.

Right: La Principessa Margarita, 1977; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Man and Woman, 2003; oil on canvas

In order to achieve this effect, Botero invites us into his world, luring us into a hermetically sealed aesthetic vision, peopled with his trademark inflated figures. The figures are suspended in time, transfixed as if in mid-flow and mid-sentence. They eat, drink, dance and bathe in a world that is self-contained and self-referential. Locked in silence, the figures are dispassionate and distant. The worlds he represents are similarly quiet with landscapes drained of human emotion and activity where gesture has been distilled and frozen forever. As I said earlier Botero’s aesthetic vision is truly classical and Platonic. He creates a perfect world where human frailty, betrayal and tragedy are banished. But that does not mean that he is unaware of or seeks to ignore the terrible violence that has torn apart his homeland. 22

Fernando Botero

Top: The street, 2000, oil on canvas Dancers, 2000; oil on canvas Left: The House of Rosalba Correa, 2001; oil on canvas

Fernando Botero


Bird of Peace, old: 1990; oil on canvas

Botero is fully apprised of Colombia’s ghastly cycle of destruction. With over 35,000 murders every year, only 10% of it are attributable to political killings. Bloodshed has become a staple of modern day Colombian society. He himself has been the target of kidnapping attempts and in 1995, a bomb was detonated near one of his bronze sculptures. Twenty-seven people were killed in the blast. The artist replaced the work but decided that the shattered remains should be left as a monument to the tragedy. Instead, Botero incorporates leitmotifs that suggest the chaos that begins where his canvas end. First, there are cats; short, fat, squat and ugly, that gaze on implacably like silent sentinels to death. He has also, especially in the past few years, created works that deal with the violence in a more direct and forceful manner. The canvases and drawings are bleak and searing. There are kidnappings, massacres, bombings murders and more — the full litany of evil. The anguish is palpable and immense; all the more so given the felicitous tone that has in the past been associated with Botero’s work. 24

Fernando Botero

Having said this, the artist remains more comfortable dealing with the violence in an elliptical and tangential fashion. Certainly, he is not alone in shying away from straightforward depictions of brutality. The Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo also works by inference; her haunting concrete wooden sculptures are quiet and serene monuments to premature deaths and maimings. They can be viewed and enjoyed on different levels. The violence only emerges indirectly. Botero sees art as a balm and or solace and generally, he seeks to free the figures he portrays, at least momentarily, from the hell that encompasses their lives. His canvases are a temporary respite from the endless cycle of death and destruction. For Botero, it’s almost as if the worlds he presents are mostly intended to be pure and untainted by the desecration wrought by man. It is the unending cycle of violence that links Botero with the Nobel Laureate and fellow Colombian Garcia Marquez most of whose novels have been centered around the poignancy of people whose lives are hopeless and doomed from birth — men and women who have had to snatch happiness on a dance floor, a bar or a bed.

Left: Cat, 1996; watercolor on paper

Fernando Botero


In the same way, Colombia has never seem to escape from the darkness. In his celebrated memoir Living to Tell the Tale (Vivir Parla Contarla), Garcia Marquez described the hopelessness with a customary aplomb: “The conservatives had governed this country from the time of our independence from Spain in 1830 until the election of Olaya Herrar, a century later, and they still gave no sign of liberalization. The liberals on the other hand were becoming more and more conservative in a country that was leaving scraps of itself behind in history.” Art for Botero has a clear agenda. It should enrich the viewers morally and spiritually as well as bring happiness. In an age of violence, pleasure is a subversive goal and one that he is determined to yield up to viewers. He wants to create a respite from the ghastliness and bloodshed of contemporary Colombia. Botero refracts his experiences of the past —reshaping and reviving them. With their innocence and beauty, they are almost prelapsarian. They harken back to a time when Antioquoia — the Andean province of his youth was peaceful and safe. His focus on the everyday details of life, the banquets, the simple pleasures of an evening ‘passagiero’ are a way of returning normalcy and humanity to his world. He is reclaiming his imaginary artistic hinterland from the drug gangs, the street hoodlums and the insurgents. Botero sees the world he creates as big infused with poetry and beauty. He sees it shorn of the ugliness of everyday Cali or Medellín.

“Art should enrich the viewers morally and spiritually as well as bring happiness.”

Right: Girl with Ice Cream, 2011; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

In an interview with a Hispanic Magazine, Botero explains: “Art is a spiritual inmaterial respite from the hardships of life. A painted landscape is always more beautiful than a real one, because there’s more there. Everything is more sensual and one takes refuge in its beauty. And man needs spiritual expression and nourishing. It’s why even in the prehistoric era, people would scrawl pictures of bisons on the walls of caves. Man needs music, literature and painting – all those oases of perfection that make up art to compensate for the rudeness and materialism of life.” Interestingly, in this respect Botero perhaps unwittingly achieves some form of common ground with Chinese aesthetics whose quest for beauty matched the underlying lawless and tyranny that wracked the Middle Kingdom for so many centuries. For Chinese artists working in pen and ink, the vistas created were an alternative plane of existence — an aesthetic refuge from the terrors and disasters all around them. According to Botero art should act as a form of spiritual sustenance that also can be a balm for the soul. It should elevate the emotions and take us beyond our worldly concerns. Indeed, we should ideally be able to ‘drink’ from the work and derive strength from the Platonic perfection portrayed. It is not meant to be comment on the world outside. This is not an artistic interpretation of the violence and the gangland killings. It is meant to act in contradistinction. Botero’s world is a salve.

Left: Bather on the beach, 2001; oil on canvas Right: Melancoly, 1989; oil on canvas The Maid, 1974; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Botero is arguably the most highly sought after Latin American artist in the world. With a large and diverse cannon of work and a substantial following of collectors, curators and dealers from Buenos Aires to Mexico City and Miami, Botero has clearly managed to tap into a visual language that resonates amongst the Latin community. He possesses legitimacy and credibility amongst his own people. His connection and continuing relevance to his own world is evidenced by the ongoing cycle of exhibitions and shows across South America. Botero, like Gabriel Garcia Marques and Mario Vargas Llosa, finds his sources in the world in which he grew up. Whereas Marques is most attached to the tropical verdance and Caribbean lilt of the northern Colombian towns of Cartagena and Baranquilla, Botero’s world is Andean. Botero’s imagery is drawn from the pastoral highlands of Antioquia. Botero unlocks fascinating and interlocking worlds. First, he reveals and explores the mysteries of art. His deep and intimate knowledge of the western canon is displayed with a rare liveliness and accessibility. Perhaps because he is Latin American, he has the confidence to deal with artists as famous as Velásquez and Giotto in a manner that is neither too precious nor overly-reverential. He is respectful but also quizzical, engaging the jaded and provoking the curious. Humor and humanity walk hand in hand in his work. Fernando Botero


At the same time, the freshness and candor of his images imbues them with a universality that allows countless millions of people to enjoy his work. The openness and naïveté of the work is beguiling and deceiving. It lures in the audience who only later discover the rich tapestry-like world underlying the gloss. And finally he teaches us something important about the civilizational landscape of his youth — the Hispanic world — a world we know so little of. Botero, this master of understatement and self-effacement, manages to achieve so many things all at once because his work without exception is drawn from live as well as an enormous sense of pleasure in the human condition. He holds up his vision of the world and it is alluring — the kaleidoscope of tantalizing beauty — that we respond to immediately, only to discover the subtle but all-important philosophical tropes and undeniable complexity luring beneath the surface.

Dancing in Colombia, 1980; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Tailor Shop, 2000; oil on canvas

Fernando Botero


Lovers, 2010; White Marble


Vermeer’s studio, 1964; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

IMAGINGS Exploring and representing the self has been a concern for all artists at different points in time. An artwork which takes as its subject the self becomes a complex device, for it can reflect and illuminate, be it a realistic mimesis of the artist’s own appearance or a symbolic representation of figures and objects. In adopting mimesis (appropriation and imitation) as a technique in his art-making, Botero has effectively created a plurality of spaces through using both reimagination and recontextualization, and reclaims these spaces through his artistic vision, marked with a sense of humor and humanism that he injects into his subject matter. For the viewer, the art work becomes a window into the psyche of the artist. By looking deeply not just at portraits or self-portraits but the broader realm of image-making, one is drawn into the discourse of the self and the identity. Aristotelian aesthetics establishes a critical intellectual role for artistic mimesis, where the concept of ‘imitation’ incorporates notions of creative representation, hence differentiating such image-making from the Platonic view of art which characterizes the practice of image-making as pure mimicry i.e. the literal copying of mere appearances. By this measure, an artwork is seen as an aesthetic territory of the artist, where subjective representations are prepared of symbolic contexts, and mimesis is a means of perceiving the truth of the subject matter (i.e. figures) as they appear in sculpture or painting, which the viewer identifies as being part of their human condition. Traditional art academies advocated as the basic principle of mimesis, a selective approach to imitate nature, where painters imitated that which was most significant and beautiful in nature, and not the mere copy of every detail indiscriminately. Arising from such artistic subjectivity in selection, were notions of artistic imagination and expression, where painting now not only represents the seen world, but has come to be accepted as a creative expression of the painter. Fernando Botero


IDENTITY One constant underlying element in every Botero’s mature work is his native Colombia. Like Botero has described his art practice, “My painting has two main sources; on the one hand, there are my views on aesthetics, and on the other hand is the Latin American world where I grew up. I have tried to see pictures of my childhood, the villages of Colombia, its people, its generals, its bishops, etc. through the prism of my tenets about art.” Rather than trying to attempt a nostalgic reproduction of his birthplace, his art captures and restores the spirit of what he imagines Colombia to be, as a counterpoint to the Colombia depicted in the mass media, where the horrors of the relentless violence in the country, has taken at least 200,000 lives in the four decade-long civil war. While Botero depicted its kidnappings, massacres, funeral processions, car bombs and death-squad fighters in his oeuvre, he also recreated the South American townscapes, domestic life in villages and alleyways, living rooms and bathrooms; most importantly, he portrayed people from all walks of life — be it presidents, portraits of historical figures in localized contexts, priests, picadors, or prostitutes, all have been portrayed because they were part of the society he imagined. Whether the subjects were depicted as posing models in portraits, or in various stages of activity — sleeping, undressing, the effect was always one that ultimately humanizes the often negative and impersonal media reportage of his native Colombia, to reflect people. The spatial expansion in the voluminous figures he depicts is done as if to enlarge these scenes from daily life in order to return to these singular events their significance and importance, as well as to allow for a reflection that has been denied them by the mass media. In capturing a sense of scale, he also depicts the humanity, sensuality, and humor in his subjects. Each of Botero’s works thus, becomes the artist’s signature at the moment of its production, and they are each an expression of identity, not just of the subject he portrays, but also of the artist’s. As an individualized expression of self, Botero’s work provides a glimpse into his relation to society as well as the formation of the modern Columbian identity.


Fernando Botero

Top: Man with Guitar, 2003; charcoal on paper The Thief, 2004; pencil on paper Left: Reclined Man, 2002; pencil on paper

Fernando Botero


IMAGE-MAKING Botero has once remarked on his influences in regard to his art making. “For years I have experimented with the innumerable influences that shaped and nourished me and that I subsequently managed to overcome, from both the past and contemporary artists. But there is one painter’s work that I had admired all my life: Piero della Francesca. His work is a perfectly balanced combination of an extraordinary sense of color and a powerful expression of shapes. Volumes are suggested by mere outlines; where he does not need shadows, he leaves spaces where the colors remain pure.” In direct reference to Piero della Francesca’s portrait of Fedrico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbinn, and his wife, Battista Sforza, Duchess of Urbinn (1465-66), Botero literally intervenes into art history and locates his role in remaking it through recreating the diptych, but in the process, inverting the order of the subjects. Botero’s art recreated the reality to include his own portrayals of famous, historical subjects – Courbet, Delacroix, Ingres, Giacometti, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, and the Marquise de Pompadour. Subsequently, Botero would paint many of these figures taken from French history, mixing them together with the figures from his childhood, with scenes of everyday life in Medellín. In referring to these iconic figures, Botero states, “the important thing for me is to take images that are so well known that they have almost become part of popular culture, and then do something different with them.” In a number of self-portraits, Botero re-Columbianised the subject matter by inserting himself in the stance of the conquistador, disguised as Velázquez, dining with Ingres and Piero della Francesca, beside the Marquise de Pompadour. 38

Fernando Botero

In recreating the world according to his own vision, Botero employs personal memory as a means to authorize versions of identity. Botero’s power of storytelling lies in the recuperation of memory and collective identity formation. Appropriating themes from all of art history — from the Middle Ages, the Italian quattrocento, and Latin American colonial art to the modern trends of the 20th century, Botero transforms them to his own particular style. Aristotle saw mimesis as a way of comprehending the world that is around us, and ourselves, for “it is through mimesis that man develops his earliest understanding”. But just as self-portraits are problematic if taken at face value as faithful reflection of the self as subject, it would be equally problematic to read the portraitures of Botero as merely apparent copies that engage in reinforcing and exulting Western art tradition and references. Ultimately, Botero creates a plastic universe where the point of reference of an image is inevitably transfixed by shifting proposals of these contexts, to launch the reimagined and reinvented self is none other than the artist, and the plurality of readings resulting from these shifts remains open to the viewer.

After Piero della Francesca, 1998; oil on canvas Fedrico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbinn

After Piero della Francesca, 1998; oil on canvas Battista Sforza, Duchess of Urbinn

Fernando Botero


Portrait of Ingres, 1999; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Portrait of Delacroix, 1998; oil on canvas

Fernando Botero


Girl with Bow, 1983; White Marble


BOTERIA The Chevaux de Marly, “those marbles neighing on a cloud of gold”, in the words of Victor Hugo, have been rearing up their heads at the entrance to the Champs-Elysées since 1795. It was the Convention and the painter David, at the height of the French Revolution, who had them moved there from the Horse Pond in the Royal Park at Marly, their original site. We no longer really know which figures from Latin mythology inspired these works by Guillaume Coustou. Art historians merely describe them as “naked grooms breaking in wild horses”. For the revolutionaries, they were “slaves delivered from their chains by the virtues of the Republic”. And since them, throughout all the trials and tribulations of history, their dynamic, looming profile has marked the triumphant beginning of one of the most celebrated urban settings in the world, where the French State, revels in the display of its splendor. Taste in any period art is an elusive variable. Without knowing why or how, the people like or dislike the works of the past, and official art in particular, which rarely coincides with the most striking works produced at any given time. A case in point was the horrified rejection of Rodin’s Balzac at the beginning of the century, at a time when Paris was being populated by a colony of statues that were literally “stupidifying” (to use the word coined by Théophile Gautier) and which kitsch lovers today can amuse themselves by discovering around the city: monuments dedicated to Trade Unionism and Workers’ Pensions, to Industry or Savings; the glorification of the motorist Serpollet, in the Place Saint Ferdinand, an unsurpassed example of its kind, and which Miguel Left: Female Torso, 1982; Bronze

Fernando Botero


Angel Asturias could see from his window; or the marble sculpture behind the Grand Palais in which Alfred de Musset tries to resist the advances of a ghostly female figure shrouded in flowing veils; there are many other and even better examples. At least the Balzac has finally found its own little niche, on an island in the boulevard Raspail, amid the cars in a public parking area. But that was only recently. The Chevaux de Marly have been treated more favorably, and since their installation they have been one of the most recognizable symbols of the identity of Paris. In a sense, their symbolic value has even increased as the French Republic has had, on many occasions in the recent past, to “free itself from its chains”. It would be difficult to imagine a more provocative confrontation than the 31 enormous sculptures by Fernando Botero, shining and black, which were on show from the Place de la Concorde up to the Rond-Point of the Champs-Elysées from October 1992 to January 1993. For they really did come from another world and another time. The works were carefully lowered into place by powerful cranes among the trees and shrubs planted “in the French manner”, more accustomed to the presence of copies from Antiquity. Botero recalls, not without a certain pride, the numerous reactions they caused, which did not really surprise him. “I am an artist who arouses the most violent kinds of feelings, including those of hatred”, he said. It is true that his compatriots in Medellín went as far as blowing up his Bird in the Plaza San Antonio, a work which had very calmly held its own on the Champs-Elysées. There is also the story about some fine art students in Madrid who one day demonstrated against Botero’s sculptures by brandishing works by Giacometti. Giacometti-Botero: The names epitomize the two extremes of the experience of shock which is at the heart of our relationship with contemporary art.

“I am an artist who arouses the most violent kinds of feelings, including those of hatred” 46

Fernando Botero

“What I do gives me extraordinary pleasure. I am transported. It’s as simple as that”

For Medellín, a violent city which has come adrift for reasons known to all, Botero found the right answer: he insisted that the shattered work should be left as it was so that it could form a contrast with a new cast of the Bird, with the two pieces comprising a monumental War and Peace dedicated to reconciliation. Whether in sculpture or painting, all of Botero’s works clearly constitute a magnificent and repeated act of provocation. A provocation not only of prevailing aesthetics, which in itself is already rather remarkable, but also a provocation of that unstable consensus which makes up the general sensibility of a period, “I don’t need to justify my work in terms of reality”, he once declared with an air of disdain. What he meant, of course was your reality, our reality. But his reality? There is no more unchallengeable reality than that of a work of art and Botero has never done anything else but obsessively, in hundreds of works one after the other, establish “his” reality. And this reality is so indisputable and so idiosyncratic that it deserves its own special name. Could we not simply call it “Botería” just like in other times as the words “Icaria” or “Araucania” were used to refer to other more or less fictitious realms in Latin America? Because “Botería”, half memory and half imagination, belongs with all its elements to Latin America and its inhabitants, the Boterians are undeniably Latin American, as is the setting in which they are placed. And over all reigns Botero, rather like one of the tyrants from those climes, “according to his pleasure”, as Napoleon would say, and who was moreover the distant model for all the Latin American dictators, there is no other law, as Botero is ready to admit: “What I do gives me extraordinary pleasure. I am transported. It’s as simple as that.” Fernando Botero


UTOPIA In a sense Botero has taken up the challenge issued by Baudelaire: “Genius, for an artist, involves the invention of a cliché.” A cliché that is so obvious that we no longer even ask what it is. It is complete in itself and repeated. As with “Botería”. Anyone who has seen one of Botero’s works once will never again have any doubt about it. It exists and will continue to exist. An immediate relationship is established with a vast range of reactions ranging from jubilation to passionate rejection. Of what other artist could as much be said? Botero never leaves the spectators indifferent. As our late friend Damien Bayon once said, “We who give lectures or courses on the history of art know full well that the projection of a slide of a work by Botero causes a considerable hilarity among the public. People are able to pause and “catch their breath” in the difficult task posed by the reading of most contemporary works. It is a moment of respite for which both listeners and spectators are always grateful”. We could also repeat, almost without changing a word what Baudelaire has said of Ingres (Ingres is one of Botero’s “most distinguishable guests”). “This impression, difficult to describe. Which in a way that is not clear, evokes a feeling of uneasiness, boredom and fear, which is vaguely and unintentionally reminiscent of the weakness that is brought on by rarified air or by an awareness of a fanciful environment or rather, an environment which imitates the fanciful of an automatic population and which troubles our senses by its very visible and palpable strangeness”. 48

Fernando Botero

Rarefied air and fanciful environment: “Botería” is a kind of utopia in the sense that utopia, in the final analysis, is a vision of a world which best satisfies the innermost aspirations of the person imagining it. And we have such a need of utopia! In art, since the works are there, the utopia, is in each case, something specific which we can touch with our eyes. There is the utopia of Monet, which is a universal garden along the banks of Seine; the utopia of Bonnard, an optical comfort made of light, color and bourgeois warmth. Chagall never really left his utopic native city of Vitebsk in Jewish Russia. Or, to mention painters whose presence can be felt in the work of Botero is not the utopia of Rubens universe whose supreme law is the tumult of all senses, as the utopia of Piero della Francesca is governed by the hieratic tranquility of geometry, the most balanced of spaces? The utopia of Botero, as he does not fail to remind us, has its origins in Medellín and his apprenticeship of life in that city in the 1930s and 1940s. Medellín in Colombia, now a modern metropolis with all the scourges of modernity.

The President, 1989; oil on canvas

The First Lady, 1989; oil on canvas

Fernando Botero


For all these, the critics tell us that the game was played out between identity and modernity. Identity was initially that of a colonial society in which the Hispanic patterns of life continued outside the course of History (History with a capital H) which was being made elsewhere, far, far away from this high valley in the Andes and its eternal spring. When Botero describes it, he speaks about it as if it were a provincial comedy in which the big events were the bishop’s funeral, the parades (and someimes the rebellions) of the military bedecked with medals. “A very special mentality which looks at society in a theatrical way.” To this must be added the corridas, the first passion, taking precedence even over art, of the young Botero: for two years he would take bullfighting classes from a banderillero with the name Aranguito. Such are the main figures of “Boteria”. Real life means family life with its repetitive traditions, its ritual enclosures and inhibitions. “The families seem to be both open and closed: as if knit together”, as Severo Sarduy would say, for whom Botero was a baroque figure of anger. “A sense of energy or bliss pulsates in the florid silence of their pose. A strength deriving from their venerable ancestors — stuffed bodies respectfully offered up to Confucius, which has been passed down through the sturdiness of the adults to the children, with their decisive air of rapture, and to their cats… They did not have much to say.” Thus, we are reminded of the many formidable and pathetic figures of one hundred years of solitude. At least, the male members of the family had access from their youth on to an excellent means of curing their inhibitions — the brothel. The red light district of Medellín is famous. Botero set out to become its Toulouse Lautrec, plus the rarefied air. We are also reminded of Fellini, minus the Italian sentimentality. Severo Sarduy undoubtedly reveals one of the secrets of this society when he says that it was “buried in the least urban kind of time; the time of the siesta, an expanding and dense time, which is also the most remote and archaic time, original time, the time of the conquest, which has brought us both the image and a sense of breadth, the techniques of representation, the unfolding of a specific space created by the Renaissance and transmitted through Spain, and the linear, logical and numerical measurement of time.”

Right: Woman falling from a balcony, 1994; pastel on paper


Fernando Botero

WOMAN The time of siesta… It is true that the Boterian “siesta” is not a very contemporary concept and that it arrogantly disregards the historical upheavals which has been afflicting Latin America over the last half century… When Botero leaves his studio, (where his “siesta” has been extremely productive in the works…) it is to return as directly as possible to the “eternal present” of the museum, with a total lack of concern for the demands of the day. The only history which really elicits his attention is the history of art, and he knows that, unlike the former, it is not a linear process. Therefore he is quite right to see himself as a contemporary of the masters that he has successively chosen for himself along the perilous path of the self-taught artists: Velázquez or Dürer, Ingres or Piero della Francesca, Cézanne or Rubens. To which he has added certain characteristics of popular art and elements from the pre-Columbian culture. As experienced and perceived by the artist, the time of art is a time which expands and retracts, rather than pointing chronologically in a single direction. In Medellín, in “Boteria”, woman, the central figure in society, is both despised and honored. Even if the Council of Trent decided (by a majority of just one vote, it is true) that she had a soul, a woman is above all a body. Botero’s nudes, whether sculptures or paintings provide us with an emphatic reminder. “The flesh has found its place”, as Gilbert Lascaut said, and that place is Woman. Few contemporary artists have interpreted her in so many different guises — as mother, wife, nun, doll, widow or virgin, shrew and materfamilias, nurse and slut. There is nothing mythological here, where the general feeling might be described as being antiGoethean. The Eternal Feminine does not sweep us into the realms of the sublime. Woman is our ballast, keeping our feet firmly on the ground. And if Botero hadn’t already made it clear that he has gleefully freed himself of its hold, we might detect the unconscious persistence of the catechism: Woman, the Fall. In 1994 Botero painted a Woman falling from her balcony and his sculpture of a Woman smoking seems a rather formidable sphinx, despite her rounded forms. 52

Fernando Botero

Woman Smoking a Cigarette, 1987; Bronze

Fernando Botero


Man with a Walking Stick, 1987; Bronze & Mother and Child, 1988; Bronze


Fernando Botero

FATHER FIGURE Botero was only four years old when his father, a traveling salesman, died. What an upheaval this must have caused in the traditional family structure, leaving an emptiness which was very difficult to fill. Perhaps the hatted figure of the Man with a walking stick, a vaguely absurd kind of provincial figure, is an invocation to this father who disappeared too early on… Or perhaps it is a conspectus of homo latinoamericanus. Botero makes no mystery of his satirical intentions… Was it by way of compensation and contrast with this “man without quality” that he subsequently produced a magnificent Torso, where the Great Male exhibits his rediscovered strength, the recovery of his royal rank? At least such would appear to be the case, in Lisbon, on the banks of Tagus, in the spacious Commerce Square. And heads of State seem particularly attracted to Botero’s statues. So the young Botero was raised within the family by his mother: he studied for a time with the Jesuits and his uncle helped initiate him in the rites of life. “We South Americans,” he was to point out later, “still have the option of lying. And of being believed. We lie and everyone believes us. This is an extraordinary advantage. Our lie is that of art, and art is nothing more than a lie.” Lying, lies: such words without a doubt belong to closed societies and to books of catechism. Modernity would entail the replacement of such words with terms like “fictions” or “phantasms”, which would more clearly identify the role of the unconscious and suppression in the traditional use of lies. Thus, art as a lie, as Botero says, becomes an assertion of subjectivity, a demystification of inhibitions. We lie to reclaim our lost freedom. Fernando Botero


Maternidad (Motherhood), 1996; Bronze


Fernando Botero

MOTHER FIGURE Botero, the child can perhaps be found in the Motherhood and The Lovers, two sculptures which complement each other and which moreover were felicitously placed close together on the Champs-Elysées. They form two main episodes of the “he and she” relationship; their nakedness is a taboo within the family but not in the theater of the unconscious where Jocasta and Oedipus reenact their drama over and over again. Motherhood shows the mother and her son-king. In The lovers, where the roles and proportions have been inverted, the son predominates. In The lovers, it is the son. In Motherhood, the child is straddling his mother’s knee in a naturally exhibitionist pose: the mother is looking away. In The lovers, it is the young girl, with her slender waist and doll-like appearance, who is sitting on the lap of the rather disdainful male. The “macho” effect is highlighted by the fact that he holds a cigarette in one hand as he tries with the other to grasp the reticent hand of his little partner. Whether or not the family is Boterian, we are reminded of Lacan’s sad remark: “Between man and woman, things just don’t work out”. Then there is the adult couple of Insomnia, two naked bodies side by side and strangers to each other… And as for his Adam and Eve, Botero has coldly separated them. And what about that other group, the Mother and child, one of the most “offensive” statues of Botero? The mother, a puffy, bloated, gigantic figure, naked and smooth as ever, looms up over the podgy body of a young boy, a kind of victim with his legs folded under him. Her arms are wasted and as she is holding in her right hand a doll-sized child, who is making an imploring gesture with its little arms. But she pays no attention and looks away with a neutral expression on her face, her eyes lost in the distance which Botero perhaps owes to Piero… It would be literally unbearable if it were not enigmatic. Fernando Botero


In both groups, the features are emphasized just enough to recall their origins in the reaches of “Botería”. Masks and lies? In truth, we suspect that these hermetically sealed bronze surfaces conceal a pandemonium of reverie and profound images. Profound and imprecise. Imprecise because they are profound. Perhaps archetypes, as defined by C.G Jung: “elements of the unconscious which constantly vary and which each time need to be re-interpreted.” Sculptures like the two Reclining women further strengthen this impression. But hoe can it be expressed without lapsing into psychologism which can only be reductive since we are dealing with artistic creation, that is, matters of exception and complexity? Baudelaire can undoubtedly help us here, Baudelaire who remains a unique yardstick for all art which has won the freedom of inventing the visible. In his poem The Giantess, he makes this very strange confession: When Nature impassioned by her powerful spirit Each day conceived children in the guise of monsters, I would have wished to live with a young giantess (…) To explore at leisure her magnificent forms, To slither along the slopes of her enormous knees (…) To sleep nonchalantly under the shadow of her breasts. Baudelaire’s dream, if it has any universal value—which would not be too difficult to confirm in mytho-psychology—provides precious indication which inevitably takes us back to the distant fantasies of childhood. And it is not Botero’s sculpture, with the lavish care and overwhelming force of its monumentality modeled by someone who is a perfect master of his art, a means of bringing these fantasies back to the present? There is a paradise lost, that of childhood, in the gigantic proportions and expansion of these human forms. Such exceptional treatment and these shocking anatomical transgressions which are its result owe their inner necessity to such an impulse, long before the artist senses any plastic need to express it.

Right: Lovers, 2010; White Marble


Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero


Horse, 1999; Bronze


Fernando Botero

CHILDREN Childhood is a time of games and children play in a world which is not on the same scale of the adult world, the so-called “real world”, as though it belonged exclusively to adults. In a book on Botero written by Gérard Durozoi (Paris, 1992, and one of the best, according to the artist himself), a painting from 1978 giving Botero’s version of the Arnolfini Marriage is reproduced by chance on the page opposite a little Horse in marble, from 1990. The juxtaposition almost suggests that we are reading a book for children: The Arnolfini are dolls, and the Horse reminds us of those Italian toys which little boys and girls loved to fuss over, a few years ago, when they were in fashion. In another statue, the same toy Horse is straddled by a figure who clearly does not come from the world of adults. In the same way, the enormous bronze Cat makes us think of the spontaneous modeling of children in nursery school… All of which confirms that there is in Botero something of the puer aesternus: it is he who invites Mona Lisa and the Maids of Honor to share his games, it is he who invites to dinner Ingres or Piero della Francesca, who look rather bewildered out of their classical setting. His make-believe family includes Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and — why not? — even the Sun King himself. At home, he arranges the entire military junta like skittles on the living room carpet. His colossal Roman soldier looks like something out of Asterix, the very well-known comic strip. He even goes as far as making the corrida, that great Hispanic ceremonial, almost child-like. Which is also a rather Swiftian way of poking fun at the adult world, or at least demystifying it. Fernando Botero


Freud caused a scandal when he revealed that adult sexuality is childish in nature and that it serves only itself, narcissistically unconcerned about its object… Now when Botero, the artist proclaims the pre-eminence of his pleasure, is he doing anything other than fusing what might be called the “artistic libido” with sexual desire? For the novelist Mario Vergas Llosa, who shares the same tropical sensuality, there is no doubt about the genealogy of Botero’s obsessive deformations: “When Botero was a child,” he writes, “there was a firmly rooted tradition in Latin America which associated abundance with beauty. It was nurtured by a panopoly of erotic mythology, in newspapers and obscene jokes in the bars, in the fashion world, popular literature and above all, in Mexican films. The exuberant forms of the actresses who danced and sang in figure-hugging gowns which made their breasts heave and buttocks bulge with a clever vulgarity were the delight of our generation, awakening our first pangs of desire. Which probably has remained trapped in the subconscious of the boy from Medellín.” But we must be careful here. “Art is not psychoanalysis”, Botero would say and we do agree with him. Psycho-analytical studies of art should be taken for what they are: academic exercises. The swelling of forms has a universal aesthetic lineage. The oldest statuettes existing, the Venus of Lespugue and the Venus of Willendorf, depict steatopygous female figures. And the pre-Columbian arts are full of pre-Boterian works, especially in Mexico, in the civilizations of the pacific coast, where many terracotta pieces, mainly Tarascan, are figures with distended forms, as in the Doncella del Occidente, one of the masterpieces of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Botero was very interested in pre-Columbian art, which is very free in its treatment of the human and animal anatomy. His Dog sculpture from 1981 recalls the Tarascan pieces of pottery depicting a similarly fat animal. Indeed, the Indians used to fatten up certain dogs to make them edible. During the same period, as a fortunate result of the search for oil in the tropical forests of the Gulf of Mexico, there was the discovery of the Olmec civilization with its colossal negroid heads, strangely helmeted, and in the tombs, its polished jadeite figurines, no less monumental despite their small size. In the parquet de la Venta, in the torrid regions of Tabasco, a few dark and shiny pieces depicting obese children.


Fernando Botero

Dog, 1993; Bronze

Fernando Botero


MANNERISM All these Olmec Art are characterized by its sensual volumes and powerful sense of weight features which are also to be found in the sculpture of Botero. This was at the end of the 1950s: only a few artists “born into a world without museums or any established traditions”, as Botero would say, and who was himself one such artist, lookedat these pre-Columbian works as examples of art rather than simply pieces of anthropological evidence. The same was true of the magnificent poetry of the Aztecs or Mayas which had to be prized out of the hands of the specialists. Since then, the history of art on the American continent, like that of its poetry and literature, is no longer seen as beginning with the Hispanic colonization. However, unlike the fresco artists who provided an initial identity to modern Latin American Art, Botero would not directly seek inspiration in the pre-Hispanic world or the repertory of pre-Columbian forms. But it was in Mexico that he developed his definitive “manner”. As Vasari would say of Michelangelo. “Manner” has given us the concept of “mannerism”, which can also be applied to the art of Botero since “Mannerism” arises when the fusion of style and motif is achieved through and for the purposes of style. “I had worked all day,” Botero says, “and I was finishing a drawing of a guitar. All that was left to do was the hole in the middle of the instrument. And — but why? — I drew a very narrow hole unrelated to the size of the guitar. Because of this disproportion, the guitar became enormous. When I looked at this deformed instrument, I immediately recognized something. I saw something. I knew at once that something essential had just occurred. Who knows? My talent lay in the fact that I was able to understand this. I immediately set about to surround this guitar with other objects conceived along the same lines. And so I began to see an emerging world which had its own coherence.” 64

Fernando Botero

More than fifteen years were to pass before Botero first turned to sculpture. It should be possible to see this long process as one of inevitable genesis. In his physical need for volume, Botero would necessarily turn to the real three dimensions of sculpture. And yet for all that, this force, this tropism which emerges from within, inflating the forms to the point of explosion, and which the flat surface of the picture finds so difficult to contain (a picture like The Pear, from 1976, is o ne of many examples), also suggests by analogy the delirious inventions, vegetable and other kinds of monsters of which nature in the Americas is so prodigal. “Form is the exaltation of nature,” Botero has said. “The exaltation of volume. A sensual exaltation.” As Klee once remarked: “Nature is the art of another.” It is true that contemporary art, and sculpture in particular, is fascinated by massive and weighty forms. Let us say nothing of Maillol and the Catalan figures of La Ben Plantade: but what about Matisse, in a work like the Head of 19005 (Museum of Modern Art, Paris), or the face of Tiaré, a bronze from 1930 (MOMA New York)? What about Henri Laurens, with his full bodied sensuality, Lobo or Gaston Lachaise and his curious eroticism; or abstract artists like Jean Arp and Henry Moore? They are all sculptors of and in weight, sculptors of massive, static volumes and closed surfaces over which the light slips as on a mirror. And what about beauty in all this? In modern art, beauty has no assured status, either in its relationship with nature or its links with history. But if it is a “promise of happiness” as Stendhal said, can we not say that Botero has found it in “Botería”?

Fernando Botero


Guitar and Chair, 1983; oil on canvas


Fernando Botero

Pear, 1976; oil on canvas

Fernando Botero


Horse, 2010; White Marble


SCULPTURES Let’s imagine that the artist, surrounded by laborers and craftsmen is working in his studio in Pietrasanta: the massive forms and big spaces already suggest the monumental character of the finished works, which were conceived on the basis of a simple design drawn on a piece of paper. Thus begin great works of art. If it is easy to imagine such a scene in the artist’s studio, it is because there we find a tradition closely related to the methods of artistic creation characteristic of the Renaissance. Many people have already commented that Fernando Botero is, in many respects, the last Renaissance artist. Therefore, it is not accidental that he has chosen the small Italian village for his studio. No one would claim that it offers a radical “modernism”, but it does provide the experience of living in the atmosphere of that singular feeling associated with the beauty and vitality of Tuscany, of that landscape, free of melancholy, marked by the distant monumentalism of the Alps. Thus, we can understand why Pietrasanta has been the birthplace of those joyful and rubicund human forms with their daring bronzed voluptuousness, those picturesque reminiscences and tender evocations of the personages of his native land. Personages intensely present in his painting, from which no doubt his sculpture derives, given that volume is suggested through the attempt to structure pictorial spaces. Storeroom with some of the monumental sculptures before the exhibition in Lugano, 1997 (before mounting) Fernando Botero


But if Botero the painter has created a world of memorable scenes in pictures full of wisdom, the beauty of his sculptures belongs to another set of values. Upon losing the rich chromatic quality of his canvases, his sculptural representation reaches a different degree of beauty, an almost abstract one, since the forms which now move us to aesthetic delight are pure, free-standing ones. Botero’s sculpture is a conclusion the artist has reached after going through a long process of artistic logic that has began with drawing and painting. Perhaps the same could be said of any artist who seeks new forms of expression. But, in the case of Botero, this logic reveals itself to be much more clear, radical and coherent. The voluminous figures of his painting allow the subsequent tendency abstracting them from their natural setting to become a logical consequence of a sensuality, irony and humor that favor their conversion into a new artistic condition without diminish-


Fernando Botero

Torso (Mounting), Champs-Elyseés 1992; Bronze

ing their original meaning or situation. But if these inferences remain intact, the fact of going into the third dimension is not just a matter of an artistic challenge: it also leads the artist to express himself in other ways and penetrate the multiple play of forms, something which, in the end, is what most matters to him. As he himself says, “I have the impression that it is necessary to do the same thing in every different way, always searching for new effects: to produce a new vision, one has never seen before, is one of the most important things for an artist.” Exhibited in parks, public squares and avenues of major cities, the sculptures Fernando Botero presented to the citizens of the world in a traveling exhibition seen in Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, New York, Washington and Buenos Aires constitute a new and magnificent expression of the singular artistic vision which consecrates the originality and creative strength of one of the world’s greatest contemporary artists.

Fernando Botero


Rapto d’Europa, 2014; Bronze


Fernando Botero

Ballerina, 1981; Bronze

Fernando Botero


Woman with a Mirror, 1992; Bronze

Cat, 1999; Bronze

Fernando Botero


Reclining Woman, 1996; Bronze

Seated Woman, 2002; Bronze


Fernando Botero

Reclining Figure, 1984; Bronze

Reclining Woman, 1993; Bronze

Fernando Botero


Man Smoking, 1976; Bronze and Ivory


Fernando Botero

INDEX After Piero Della Francesca p.39

Man and Woman p.22

Antonio Ventura “Minuto” p.10

Maternidad p.56

Abu Ghraib Series 46 p.12

Melancholy p.29

Ballerina p.75

Our Lady of Colombia p.20

Bather on the Beach p.28

Pear p.67

Bird of Peace p.24

Portrait of Ingres p.40

Card Players p.11

Portrait of Delacroix p.41

Cat p.25

Presidente p.10

Cat Sculpture p.79

President and First Lady p.49

Dancers p.23

Rapto d’Europa p.74

Dog p.63

Reclined Man p.37

Dancing in Colombia p.30

Reclining woman p.80

Female Torso p.44

Tailor Shop p.31

Girl with Ice cream p.26

The House of Correa p.23

Guitar and Chair p.66

The Maid p.29

House p.18

The Street p.23

Horse p.60

The Thief p.37

La Principessa Margarita p.20

Torso p.73

Lovers p.58

Vermeer’s Studio p.34

Mademoiselle Rivere p.20

Woman Falling from a Balcony p.50

Man with Guitar p.37

Woman smoking a cigarette p.53

Man with a walking stick p.54

Woman with fruit p.17


Latin American Modern, Leon Tovar Gallery, New York Artefiera Bologna 2017, Contini Art Gallery, Bologna


Masters of Distinction, Opera Gallery, Singapore Summer Exhibition: Fernando Botero, David Benrimon Fine Art, NY Fernando Botero: Larger Than Life, Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton


Botero Beauty in Volume II, David Benrimon Fine Art, New York Tempo, Opera Gallery, Monaco Fernando Botero, Opera Gallery, London


Fernando Botero: Beauty in Volume, David Benrimon Fine art, NY


Museo Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain


Una celebración, Palacio Bellas Artes de México, Mexico Hommage zum 80. Geburtstag, Botero - Gemälde, Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany


Art is deformation, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY Inaurgural Exhibition: Fernando Botero, David Benrimon Gallery, NY Latinas!, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY


Gary Nader Fine Art, Coral Gables, FL Fernando Botero: The Circus. James Goodman Gallery, NY El Dolor de Colombia, Pinacoteca Diego Rivero, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE


Fernando Botero


Botero: Oeuvres récentes, Marlborough Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco


Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib, University of California, Berkeley, CA The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Canada Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY Latin Masters, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY Fernando Botero, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany


Sculpture, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY Summer Group Show, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY Fernando Botero, Athens Concert Hall, Greece (solo) Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY


Landscape, Cityscape, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY Palazzo Venezia, Rome, Italy


The Art Museum, Singapore


The Doge’s Palace and other locations, Venice, Italy The Gemeente Museum, Aja The Maillol Museum, Paris, France


Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark


Moderna Musset, Stockholm, Sweden


The Museum of Antioquìa, Medellìn, Colombia

Fernando Botero



San Paolo Museum of Art, San Paolo, Brazil The National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The Monterey Museum of Contemporary Art, Monterey, CA The Art Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel


The Modern Art Museum of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland The National Musuum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile


The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel The Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC Niigata Prefectoral Modern Art Museum, Niigata, Japan Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyongju, South Korea The Sofia Imber Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas, Venezuela


Museo of Art, Takamatsu City, Japan Shinjuku Mitsukoshi Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan


Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland The National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina Paseo de Recolet, Madrid, Spain Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina Paseo de Recoletes, Madrid, Spain Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL


Montecarlo Kunsthaus, Vienna, Austria Champs-Elysées, Paris, France The Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia



Fernando Botero

Exhibition Palace, Rome, Italy


The Coro Museum of the Arts, Coro, Venezuela The Contemporary Museum of Art, Caracas, Venezuela The Rufino Tamayo Museum, Oaxaca, Mexico


The Queen Sofia Center for the Arts, Madrid, Spain


The Contemporary Art Museum, Caracas, Venezuela Municipal Art Museum, Niigata, Japan Museum of Art, Albany, NY


The National Museum, Bogota, Colombia The Ponce Museum, Puerto Rico


The Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY The Everhard Museum, Scranton, PA The Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


The Veranneman Foundation, Belgium


The Civic Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan


The d’Ixelles Museum, Brussels, Belgium The Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC The South Texas Museum of Art, Corpus Christi, TX


Sculpture Museum of the city of Marl, Marl, Germany


The Medellìn Museum of Art, Medellìn, Colombia


The Museum of Comtemporary Art, Caracas, Venezuela

Fernando Botero



The Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY Buchholz, Munich, Germany Claude Bernard, Paris, France


Fernando Botero: Bilder 1962-1969, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden; Germany; Traveled to: Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany; Stadtische Kunsthalle; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany; and Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, Germany Botero, Galerie Buchholz, Munich, Germany Fernando Botero, Hanover Gallery, London, UK


Fernando Botero, Center for Inter-American Relations, New York, NY Botero: Peintures, pastels, fusains, Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, France Inflated Images, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY


Botero, Galería Juana Mordó, Madrid, Spain Botero, Galerie Buchholz, Munich, Germany


Fernando Botero, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany; Traveled to: Galerie Buchholz, Munich, Germany, Galerie Brusberg, Hanover, Germany Fernando Botero: Recent Works, Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, WI


Botero: Recent Works, Zora Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


Cordoba Bienale, Argentina Fernando Botero: Bosquejos realidades, Galería Arte Moderno, Bogotá Fernando Botero: Obras recientes, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá


Fernando Botero


7 Contemporary Painters, Museum of Modern Art, Bogota Botero, Gres Gallery, Chicago, IL Botero, The Contemporaries, New York, NY


Botero, Galería de Arte El Callejón, Bogotá, Colombia


Botero, Gres Gallery, Washington, DC


Botero: Obras recientes, Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, Sala Gregorio Vásquez, Bogotá, Colombia


Fernando Botero: Oleos, Galería Antonio Souza, Mexico D.F., Mexico Fernando Botero: Recent Oils, Watercolors, Drawings, Gres Gallery, Washington, DC


Pan American Union, Washington, DC


Biblioteca Nacional, Bogota, Colombia


Leo Matiz Gallery, Bogota, Colombia

Fernando Botero


PUBLIC COLLECTION Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyongju, Korea Staatgalerie Moderne Kunst, Munich, Germany Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan Museo Nacional, Bogota, Colombia Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania Museum of Art, The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island Museum Moderne Kunst, Vienna, Austria The Museum of Modern Art, New York The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany Niigata Prefectoral Modern Art Museum, Niigata, Japan Ponce Museum of Art, Ponce, Puerto Rico Meadow Brook Art Gallery, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan


Fernando Botero

M.H.K. Foundation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin Miyagi Museum of Art, Japan Museo d’Arte Moderna del Vaticano, Rome, Italy Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas, Venezuela Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Colombia Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela Gelerie-Verein, Munich, Germany The Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University Art Collection, New York Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC Ho-am Museum, Seoul, South Korea Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire Israel Museum, Jerusalem Kunsthalle Nuremberg, Germany Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, Texas Astrup Museum, Oslo, Norway The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

Fernando Botero


REFERENCE RASLAN, KARIM, SUENNE MEGAN TAN, and VALENTINE WILLIE. Botero in Singapore: 8 December - 27 February 2005, Singapore Art Museum, Esplanade Park. Singapore Art Museum, 2004. Print. Botero, Fernando, Jean-Clarence Lambert, and Benjamin Villegas. Botero: Sculptures. Bogota: Villegas Editores, 1998. Print. Sillevis, John, David Elliott, and Edward J. Sullivan. The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2007. Print. “Fernando Botero.” 265 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy. Artsy, n.d. Web. 11 May 2017. <>. “Fernando Botero - Artworks.” The Athenaeum - Interactive Humanities Online. The Athenaeum, n.d. Web. <>.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have the impression that it is necessary to do the same thing in very different ways, always searching for new effects: to produce a new vision, one never seen before, is one of the most important things for an artist.â&#x20AC;? Fernando Botero

Chandra wk13 final book  
Chandra wk13 final book