A Tribute to Fernando Botero

15 September 2023

With heavy hearts we pay tribute to the legendary artist Fernando Botero, whose departure at the age of 91 leaves us deeply saddened.

“As I contemplate the moments I shared with Botero, I am struck by the realization that he transcended being a mere artists; he served as a profound wellspring of inspiration and creativity. His art will continue to enchant and engage both hearts and intellects, ensuring the lasting vitality of his legacy.” said Opera Gallery founder and chairman, Gilles Dyan. 


Through his signature “Boterismo” style characterized by whimsical, voluminous forms, Botero demonstrated his mastery of form. Seamlessly ranging in tone from humorous to sensual to political, Botero’s evocative paintings, drawings and sculptures tell a nuanced story about the artist’s life and his astute observations on society and culture shaped by his travels and creative explorations. 


Born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932, Botero’s early aesthetic influences included cubism and Mexican murals. After a stint at a matador school, Botero decided art was his true calling and in 1948 at age 16, he had his first exhibition. In the early 1950s Botero traveled 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. Many of the artist’s important works are housed in the Botero Museum in Bogotá in his native Colombia, which opened to the public in 2000. 


Through Botero’s vast body of work, we collectively revel in life’s pleasure and pain. His oeuvre permanently transformed the landscape of Latin American art and today we mourn this tremendous loss.