Fernando Botero

One of the most celebrated contemporary Latin American artists, Fernando Botero was born in Medellin in 1932. After a stint at a matador school, Botero decided art was his true calling and in 1948, aged 16, he had his first exhibition. In the early 1950s Botero travelled through Europe, studying art at Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, followed by a spell in Paris spent absorbing the works of the Old Masters at the Louvre. He continued to Florence, where he studied the frescoes of the Italian Renaissance, discovering techniques from a bygone era. From 1961 to 1973, he resided and worked in New York city before dividing his time between Paris, Monaco, and Tuscany. He passed away in Monaco on September 15, 2023, at the age of 91.

 

Botero gained widespread recognition for his unique artistic approach characterized by the use of smooth, inflated forms and surprising variations in proportions. This distinctive style was a manifestation of the artist's relentless pursuit of imbuing volume with a tangible and authentic presence. His body of work encompasses a wide array of subjects, ranging from everyday life in Colombia to iconic art historical references like the Mona Lisa, and the injustices stemming from the abuse of authority.

 

Botero created monumental sculptures for public spaces in many major cities, including New York (Park Avenue), Paris (Champs-Élysées), Rome and Monte Carlo. His works are found in many important private and public collections, such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.); Ho-am Museum (Seoul); Israel Museum (Jerusalem); Kunsthalle Nuremberg (Nuremberg); Museo d'Arte Moderna del Vaticano (Rome); Museum Moderne Kunst (Vienna); Neue Pinakothek (Munich); Staatgalerie Moderne Kunst (Munich); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); The Museum of Modern Art (New York); and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York).
Fernando Botero in his studio in Paris, France © Enrique Palacio