Relief with dancers
Fernando Botero, born 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, is one of the most important modern artists in history. As early as 1948 and without any academic training, he took part in his first group show. Four years later, he began his studies at the Academia de las Bellas Artes de San Fernando and at the Prado museum, both in Madrid. Bulging forms are Botero’s trademark. He combines a seemingly naïve joy of narration and a sophisticated, multilayered traditional manner of painting with a reverence for the Old Masters to achieve a new sensibility and grotesque humour. In the early 1990’s, he created a big stir with monumental bronzes of his portly people, which had been installed on the Champs Elysées in Paris, as just one example.
A reference to Botero’s respect for the Old Masters is justified, although his way of working is entirely different. Take Michelangelo, for instance; through his neo-platonic thinking, he was convinced that a sculpture was already contained in its block of marble and all the artist had to do was chip away that which didn’t belong. Botero, it seems, thinks in the opposite direction. He starts from a formal concept – not unlike Maillol – and makes the figure fill it out.This is also true for Botero’s paintings. The rotund nature of his figures is neither a reflection of nor a commentary on reality, but rather, like the Archaic Smile, it is a formal principle.
His art is said to be influenced by Colombian folk art. However, if that’s the case, then it is surely less indebted to folkloristic painting or textiles than to earlier works such as the stone statues of San Augustin, which could explain his fondness of rotundity.
Botero paints portraits and still lifes, as well as what is called nowadays “situational portraiture,” a new term for the “conversation piece.” Botero carries on a venerable tradition without falling prey to its charms – he takes it beyond the scope of traditional solutions. One result is that the figures are more prominent, nearer to the beholder, thereby emphasizing the personal, the individual, the subjective.
The subjects – people, animals, plants –with their depicted body mass, offer a strong pictorial / sculptural statement. His subject matter and motifs can be interpreted as images remembered from the past and seen through the artist’s aesthetic principles, but they are constantly being superimposed with younger memories and current experiences. They do not only show Colombia, they show the world and interpret it, changing our views in the process.
Fernando Botero, 26.04.2014 - 16.07.2014, Ausgewählte Arbeiten (Project Room), Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Fernando Botero, 29.04.2013 - 27.06.2013, Sonderausstellung Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Fernando Botero, 07.03.2013 - 10.03.2013, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Fernando Botero - Homage at the artist’s 80th Birthday, 31.03.2012 - 30.06.2012, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie Fernando Botero - Homage at the artist’s 80th Birthday
nature attitude, 08.03.2008 - 31.05.2008, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie nature: attitude
Fernando Botero, 28.04.2007 - 06.06.2007, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero. Sammlung Würth und Leihgaben,until Sep. 04, 2016, Musée Würth, Erstein, France
Fernando Botero, until Oct. 04, 2015, Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul, South Corea
Fernando Botero - Boterosutra, until Sep. 6, 2015, Forum Würth Rorschach, Rorschach, Swiss
Traum-Bilder. Ernst, Magritte, Dalí, Picasso, Antes, Nay ...Die Wormland-Schenkung,
Sep. 14, 2013 until Jan. 26, 2014, Sammlung Moderne Kunst, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
Via Crucis, travelling exhibition, 2011 - 2013, for example at Antioquia-Museum, Medellín
Fernando Botero, Oct. 9, 2012 until Jan. 31, 2013, Museo Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Spain
Fernando Botero - Una celebración, March 27, 2012 until June 10, 2012, Palacio Bellas Artes de México