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 Fernando Botero  (1932 - )

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About: Fernando Botero
 

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Lived/Active: New York / Colombia/France      Known for: rotund female figure painting, sculpture

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BIOGRAPHY for Fernando Botero
Facts/Data
Birth
1932 (Medellin, Columbia)
 
Lived/Active
New York / Colombia/France


Self portrait - Self-portrait


Often Known For
rotund female figure painting, sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Fernando Botero, the youngest of three brothers, was born in Medellin, the industrial and commercial center of Columbia; a small provincial city high in the Andes mountains. His father, who died when Fernando was four, was a salesman who traveled on horseback into the mountains to work. Botero had an uncle who sent him to a school for matadors.

Botero's first painting was a watercolor of a matador. As an adolescent he discovered "Esquire Magazine" and the Vargas girls and decided that he was going to be an artist, even though that meant that he would always be poor.

He was expelled from his Jesuit high school for his "irreligious" ideas after he wrote an article on Picasso and Cubist fragmentation. He was sent to a government school in Marinilla, a small nearby town, to finish his schooling.

After finishing high school in 1951, Botero moved to Bogota. He settled in Madrid for a year, spent a year in Paris, then two years in Florence. During his twenties, Botero continued to move frequently, returning to Columbia in 1955 when he married. He moved to Mexico City in 1956. He visited the United States for the first time a year later and in 1960 he moved to New York and has not lived full time in Latin America since. In 1972 Botero bought a house near Bogota, where he now spends several months each year. He is a celebrity there, a national hero, mobbed at the airport by fans wanting autographs.

Botero had three children from his first marriage and only one from his second marriage. Unfortunately this little boy died in 1974 in an automobile accident in which Botero himself was badly injured, especially his hands. Sophie Vari is a sculptor with whom he has lived for many years. They live in Pietrasante where both have studios in different parts of their house. Botero's turning to sculpture in the late 1970s surprised few who knew him well.

Botero is an avid collector of the work of the world's most foremost artists. His homes are all full of these works and they have all been a very strong influence on his painting and on his sculpture. There are many who consider his treatments of many of these themes to be satirical. His comment: "I create my subjects somehow visualizing them in my style. I start as a poet, put the colors down on canvas as a painter, but finish my work as a sculptor, taking delight in caressing the forms."

No, Botero is not fat.


Compiled and submitted August 2004 by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
"A Gift for Being Different" by Margaret Moorman in 'ARTnews', February 1986
"World Artists", 1950-80, by Claude Marks

Biography from Vered Gallery - International artists:
"I try to create sensuousness thru form”
-Fernando Botero

Botero’s monumental sculptures have lined Park Avenue, graced Berlin’s Lustgarten, been exhibited in San Antonio, paraded on the Champs Elysses, graced the streets of Sevilla and delight vacationers at the Grand Wailea resort in Hawaii – Botero is magnifique!   Both as  sculptor and painter, Botero’s brilliant colors and massive forms make you stand up and take notice immediately.

From an improbable beginning one of the world’s most arresting and talked about artists rose to great prominence.   Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, the industrial and commercial center of Columbia; a small provincial city high in the Andes mountains.  His father, who died when Fernando was four, was a salesman who traveled on horseback into the mountains to work.  Botero had an uncle who sent him to a school for matadors.  As an adolescent he discovered Esquire Magazine and the Vargas girls and decided that he was going to be an artist, even though that meant that he would always be poor – or so it seemed then.  He was expelled from his Jesuit high school for his "irreligious" ideas after he wrote an article on Picasso and Cubist fragmentation.  He was sent to a government school in Marinilla, a small nearby town, to finish his schooling.   After finishing high school in 1951, Botero moved to Bogota.   Only then was Botero allowed to travel beyond Columbia’s borders.

Botero then traveled to the great art ‘capitals’ in Europe; Madrid for a year, then a year in Paris, then two years in Florence.  During his twenties, Botero continued to move frequently, returning to Columbia in 1955.  Today, Botero has several homes; Pietrasanta, Mexico City, New York… Bogata.  In Bogota he has taken on celebrity status.  He is a national hero, mobbed at the airport by fans wanting autographs.

Among Botero’s earliest works were still life paintings.  It was with still life painting that Botero launched his own particular style of inflated volumes, and it is precisely in this genre, that the underlying principle of distortion is most readily seen.  It is a slight detail—such as the tiny bite mark on a pear, or the minuscule sound hole at an instrument's center—that acts as a catalyst in the process of proportional modification, and the ensuing alteration of the composition's very meaning.  Botero says, “An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why.  You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it.”  He is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense of the word, choosing what colors, shapes, and proportions to use based on intuitive fundamental aesthetic thinking.”  This being said, his works are informed by a Colombian upbringing void of traditional art venues.  Social commentary is woven all throughout his work.

The turning point in Botero's career came in 1961 when Dorothy Miller, then curator of museum collections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York bought his Mona Lisa, Age Tvelve.  The wide-ranging retrospective of his work, held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., in 1979, was the first in a series of similar shows.  Subsequent exhibitions were held in Chicago, New York, and Madrid.  Neither the fame nor the high prices fetched by his works has changed Botero's nomadic habits.  To this day, the artist continues to divide his time between Colombia, New York, Paris, and Pietrasanta.

For the most part, Botero's forays into portraiture have taken the form of self-portraits, in which he subjects his own figure to the same deforming logic that he applies to all others. He does so with a good amount of humor, especially when echoing such illustrious antecedents as Rembrandt or de Chirico.  He portrays himself disguised as some of the most diverse characters—projections, perhaps, of his unfulfilled desires—ranging from Spanish conquistador to gallant bullfighter.  In some instances, the Colombian artist portrays himself as a tiny figure, somewhere between the medieval representation of the donor, and the self-portraits of Velazquez depicted alongside his eminent models.  In other instances, however, Botero's presence is rendered almost imperceptible, as his distinctive visage timidly emerges from some minuscule cameo.

More important than his subject matter, is the means he uses to depict the subject which you see clearly in his paintings.  Expressionism interested him, he sought his primary inspiration from the Italian creating volume in his paintings by expanding the figures and compressing the space around them, a quality which he continues to explore whether painting imaginary group portraits or parodies on the work of famous masters.

One of the most distinctive chapters in Botero's career is the one comprising his renderings of celebrated paintings from the history of art.  Like a legion of painters before him, and certainly Picasso Bacon, Lichtenstein and Johns, the Colombian painter borrows motifs from a shared cultural heritage.  Botero's intention, however, is not to copy Leonardo, Caravaggio, or Mantegna, since his pictures are free interpretations retaining only the subject matter of the originals.  By stripping the motifs of all their stylistic traits he converts them into genuine Boteros.  Although a certain touch of irony infiltrates these works, whether paintings by Velazquez at the Prado, or   fresco masters in Florence, the artist's goal is not to create caricatures.  Rather, they are his attempts to distill the true essences of paintings while conforming to the formal aspects of his particular style.

First a painter, Botero began to produce sculpture in the 70’s.  His work in a three dimensional art was a natural progression for an artist singularly dedicated to expressing volume and mass.  Columbian artist Fernando Botero’s unique style is recognized and renowned world-wide for the voluminous forms and sensuous figures found within his paintings, sculpture and works on paper.  The monumentality of his images has made his work instantly recognizable.  “I studied the art of Giotto and all other Italian Masters, I was fascinated by their sense of volume and monumentality, of course in modern art everything is exaggerated – so my voluminous figures also became exaggerated.”

Most recently (2007-2011) the major Botero exhibition “The Baroque Works of Ferdando Botero” has been traveling to museums world wide.  100 of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings, the first retrospective exhibition in the United States of Botero's work since 1978, and selected by Dr. John Sillevis, Curator of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. Presented will be the best works from the several stages in his development as an artist. The exhibition follows Botero in his extensive studies of the history of European art, which he pursued in art museums across the continent.  Another important theme illustrated in the exhibition is the glory and misery of contemporary life in Latin America. The show opened at Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (Canada) .

Botero's work is represented in National and International museum collections throughout the world including: Arkansas Art Center,  Museum of Modern Art NY, Delaware Art Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden ; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan; Ho-am Museum, Seoul, Süd Korea; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Deutschland; Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami; University, University of Rochester Art Museum, Michigan; Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; Miyagi Museum of Art, Japan; Museo d´Arte Moderna del Vaticano; Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Kolumbien; Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela; Museo Nacional, Bogotá, Kolumbien; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; A Museum Moderne Kunst, Vienna, Österreich; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan; Neue Pinakothek, München, Deutschland; Ponce Museum of Art, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russland; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Staatsgalerie Moderne Kunst, München, Deutschland; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russland; Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Köln, Deutschland and Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan.   

Selected Exhibitions:
2009  Gary Nader Fine Art, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Fernando Botero: The Circus. James Goodman Gallery, New York, NY, USA
El Dolor de Colombia, Pinacoteca Diego Rivero, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
2008  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
2007 - 2008 Botero: Oeuvres récentes, Marlborough Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco, November 22, 2007 – January 25, 2008 (solo)
2007  Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib, University of California, Berkeley, California, January 29 – March 23, 2007 (solo)
2007  The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Canada, January-April 2007 (solo)
2007  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware, March – June, 2008 (solo)
2007  New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA) - June-September 2008 (solo)
2007  Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, June 6 - September
2007  Latin Masters, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York, August 26 – November 4
2007  Fernando Botero, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, Bielefeld, Germany (solo)
2006  Sculpture, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, January 5 – 28, 2006
2006  Summer Group Show, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, June 22 - September 5
2006  Fernando Botero, Athens Concert Hall, Greece, May 24 – September 10 (solo)
2006  Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, October 18-November 18 (solo)
2005  Landscape, Cityscape, Marlborough Gallery, New York
2005  Palazzo Venezia, Rome
2004  The Art Museum, Singapore
2003  The Doge’s Palace and other locations, Venice
2003  The Gemeente Museum, Aja
2003  The Maillol Museum, Paris
2002  Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen
2001  Moderna Musset, Stockholm
2000  The Museum of Antioquìa, Medellìn
2000  City di Pietrasanta
1998 - 1999  San Paolo Museum of Art, San Paolo
1998 - 1999  The National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro
1998 - 1999  The Monterey Museum of Contemporary Art
1998 - 1999  The Art Museum, Tel Aviv
1997  The Modern Art Museum of Lugano
1997  The National Musuum of Fine Arts, Santiago
1996  The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1996  The Art Museum of the Americas, Washington D.C.
1996  Niigata Prefectoral Modern Art Museum, Niigata
1996  Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyongju
1996  The Sofia Imber Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas
1994 - 1995  Museo of Art, Takamatsu City
1994 - 1995  Shinjuku Mitsukoshi Museum of Art, Mitsukoshi
1994 - 1995  Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki
1994  Helsinki City Art Museum
1994  The National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos, Aires
1994  Paseo de Recolet, Madrid
1994  Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires
1994  Paseo de Recoletes, Madrid
1994  Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale
1992 - 1993  Montecarlo Kunsthaus, Vienna
1992 - 1993  Champs-Elysées, Paris
1992 - 1993  The Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
1991 Exhibition Palace, Rome
1989  The Coro Museum of the Arts
1989  The Contemporary Museum of Art, Caracas
1989  The Rufino Tamayo Museum
1987  The Queen Sofia Center for the Arts, Madrid
1986  The Contemporary Art Museum, Caracas
1986  Municipal Art Museum, Niigata
1986  Museum of Art, Alòbany
1985  The National Museum, Bogota
1985  The Ponce Museum, Puerto Rico
1984  The Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York
1984  The Everhard Museum, Scranton
1984  The Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
1983  The Veranneman Foundation, Belgium
1981  The Civic Museum of Art, Osaka
1981  The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo
1979  The d’Ixelles Museum, Brussels
1979  The Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
1979  The South Texas Museum of Art
1978  Sculpture Museum of the city of MarlMarl
1977  The Medellìn Museum of Art, Medellìn
1976  The Museum of Comtemporary Art, Caracas
1975  The Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
1972  Marlborough Gallery, New York
1972  Buchholz, Munich
1972  Claude Bernard, Paris
1970  Staatliche Kunsthalle. Fernando Botero: Bilder 1962-1969. Baden-Baden, Germany. Traveled to Berlin, Haus am Waldsee; Dusseldorf, Stadtische Kunsthalle; Hamburg, Kunstverein; and Bielefeld, Kunsthalle.
Galerie Buchholz. Botero. Munich, Germany.
Hanover Gallery. Fernando Botero, London, England.
1969  Center for Inter-American Relations. Fernando Botero. Catalogue, foreword by Stanton L. Catlin, essay by Klaus Gallwitz. New York, U.S.A.
Galerie Claude Bernard. Botero: Peintures, pastels, fusains. Paris, France.
1969  Inflated Images, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1968  Galería Juana Mordó. Botero. Madrid, Spain.
Galerie Buchholz. Botero. Munich, Germany.
1966  Staatliche Kunsthalle. Fernando Botero. Catalogue, text by Daniel Robbins. Baden-Baden,Germany.
Traveled to Munich, Galerie Buchholz. Hanover, Galerie Brusberg. Fernando Botero: Olbilder und Zeichnungen.
Milwaukee Art Center. Fernando Botero: Recent Works. Catalogue, foreword by Tracy Atkinson. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
1965  Zora Gallery. Botero: Recent Works. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1964  Cordoba Bienale, Argentina
Galería Arte Moderno. Fernando Botero: Bosquejos realidades. Bogotá, Colombia
Museo de Arte Moderno. Fernando Botero: Obras recientes. Bogotá, Colombia.
1962  7 Contemporary Painters, Museum of Modern Art, Bogota
Gres Gallery. Botero. Chicago, U.S.A.
The Contemporaries. Botero. New York, U.S.A.
1961  Galería de Arte El Callejón. Botero. Bogotá, Colombia.
1960  Gres Gallery. Botero. Washington D.C., U.S.A.
1959  Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, Sala Gregorio Vásquez. Botero: Obras recientes. Bogotá, Colombia.
1958  Galería Antonio Souza. Fernando Botero: Oleos. Mexico D.F., Mexico.
Gres Gallery. Fernando Botero: Recent Oils, Watercolors, Drawings.
Washington D.C., U.S.A.
1957  Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.
1955  Biblioteca Nacional, Bogota
1951  Leo Matiz Gallery, Bogota

Literature:
2008  Castro Flórez, Fernando. Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib, El circo. Valencia : Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, 2008
2007  Buysschaert, M., Chiappini, R., Malerba, F., Ruzzante, A., (eds.) Botero: works 1994-2007. Milan; NY: Distributed in North America by Rizzoli International Publications, 2007
2006  Ebony, D. Botero : Abu Ghraib. Munich ; New York : Prestel, c2006.
Sillevis, J., Elliott, E., Sullivan, E.J. The Baroque world of Fernando Botero. Alexandria, Va. : Art Services International ; New Haven : In association with Yale University Press, 2006
2005  Strinati, C., Veltroni, W., Botero : the last 15 years. Roma : De Luca Editori d’Arte, c2005 (catalogue)
2003  Gribaudo, P., Fuentes, C., Botero: women. New York : Rizzoli : Distributed to the U.S. trade by St. Martin’s Press, 2003
2001  Botero: monumental sculpture. New York : Marlborough Gallery, 2001 (catalogue)
2000  Sullivan, E. J., Tasset, J. M. Fernando Botero: monograph & catalogue raisonné : paintings 1975-1990. Lausanne : Acatos, 2000 (catalogue raisonné)
1999  Villegas, B., Fumaroli, M., Botero drawings. Bogota : Villegas Editores, 1999
1998  Lambert, J. C., Villegas, B., Botero sculptures. Bogotá : Villegas Editores, 1998
Fernando Botero: drawings and watercolors on canvas. New York : Marlborough, 1998 (catalogue)
1997  Escallón, A. M., Botero: new works on canvas. New York : Rizzoli International Publications, 1997
Aguirre, E. (et al.), Botero : la corrida. adrid : Ministerio de Educación y Cultura : Fundación Central Hispano : Communidad de Madrid, 1997 (catalogue)
1993  Sullivan, E.J., Fernando Botero: drawings and watercolors. New York : Rizzoli, 1993
Gribaudo, P. Botero Affreschi - Chiesa della Misericordia, Pietrasanta. Torino: Stamperia Artistica Nazionale, 1993 (catalogue)
Fernando Botero: drawings on canvas. New York, NY : Marlborough Gallery, 1993 (catalogue)
1992  Cau, J. Botero aux Champs-Elysées “La Corrida aux Grand Palais”. Paris: Mairie de Paris and Didier Imbert Fine Art. Edition of 3, Sculptures et Œuvres sur Papier,” by Pierre Daix, “Sculptures Monumentales,” by Charles Virmaître, 1992 (catalogue)
Sullivan, E.J. Botero: Aquarelles et Dessins. Madrid: Lerner & Lerner, 1992(catalogue)
Vargas Llosa, Mario. Botero: Dessins et Aquarelles. Paris: Editions de la Difference, (nd), 1992 (catalogue)
1991  Pacifico, M., Silvestro S., and Giorgio Van Straten. Botero al Forte Belvedere di Firenze. Florence: Tipolito Press, 1991 (catalogue)
1990  Caballero Bonald, J. M. Botero: the bullfight. New York, N.Y. : Rizzoli, 1990
Gribaudo, P. Botero. Milan: Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, 1990
Soavi, Giorgio. Fernando Botero - Œuvres 1959-1989. Paris: Celiv, 1990 (catalogue)
1986  Sullivan, E. J. Botero, sculpture. New York : Abbeville Press, 1986
1980  Ratcliff, C. Fernando Botero: recent work. November 7 -December 2, 1980. Marlborough Gallery, New York: the Gallery, 1980 (catalogue)
1979  Jaffee McCabe, C. Fernando Botero: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979 (catalogue)
1975  Fernando Botero. New York, Marlborough Gallery, 1975 (catalogue)
1973  Fernando Botero.April-maggio. Roma : Marlborough galleria d'arte, 1973 (catalogue)

Biography from RoGallery.com:
Fernando Botero's distinctive style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale is today instantly recognizable.  It reflects the artist's constant search to give volume presence and reality.  The parameters of proportion in his world seem innovative and almost always surprising.  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.

Born in 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, Botero became interested in painting at an early age.  His artistic precocity was evident in an illustrated article he contributed to the Medellin newspaper El Colombiano when he was seventeen.  Titled Picasso and the Nonconformity of Art, it revealed his avant-garde thinking about modern art.

Botero moved to Bogotá in 1951 and held his first one-man exhibition there at the Leo Matiz Gallery.  The following year, at the age of twenty, he was awarded a Second Prize at the National Salon in Bogota.  With the money he earned from the Salon award and his exhibitions, Botero traveled to Spain, France and Italy to study the work of the Old Masters.  In Madrid, he visited El Prado Museum daily while studying at the San Fernando Academy.  In Florence, he studied at the Academy of San Marcos and was profoundly influenced by the works of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno.

It was during a brief stay in Mexico that Botero produced Still Life with Mandolin (1956), the first work in which "puffed-up" form makes a definite appearance.  Two years later he was awarded a First Prize at the National Salon in Bogota for his Bridal Chamber: Homage to Mantegna, a work inspired in Mantegna's 1474 frescoes for the Ducal Palace in Mantua.

Botero later did a second version on this theme, which is now in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum.  Botero moved to New York in 1960 and the following year the Museum of Modern Art of New York acquired his painting Mona Lisa, Age Twelve for its collection.  During this period he experimented briefly with a gestural brushstroke, which Botero called his flirtation with the School of New York.  Over the next years Botero continued to explore the manipulation of form for aesthetic effect, gradually eliminating all traces of brushwork and texture, opting instead for smooth inflated shapes.

His continuing attraction to the Colombia of his youth is reflected in paintings rooted in small town Colombian life--middle-class family groups, heads of state, prelates, madonnas, military men, prostitutes and opulent still lifes with exotic fruit.  In 1973 Botero left New York for Paris and began to produce sculpture, although without giving up painting.  His work in a three-dimensional art was a natural progression for an artist singularly dedicated to expressing volume and mass.

It is not the semblance of volume, however, but volume itself, a tangible volume, that the medium of sculpture offers.  His vision involves the conviction that monumentality is not so much a question of size as it is of proportion.  It is a search for the heroic in art, an attribute that Botero first discovered as a student in Florence. Today Fernando Botero divides his time between Paris, New York and Tuscany. His paintings, sculptures, and drawings are exhibited and represented in museum collections throughout the world.

Source: Artist Showroom

Biography from Boca Raton Museum of Art:
Fernando Botero is Latin America's most famous living artist.  His distinctive style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale is today instantly recognizable and reflects the artist's constant search to give volume presence and reality.  The parameters of proportion in his world are free, imaginative, innovative and almost always surprising.  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.

Born in 1932 in Medellin, capital of the Antioquia Department of Colombia, Botero became interested in painting at an early age.  His artistic precociousness was evident in an illustrated article he contributed to the Medellin newspaper El Colombiano when he was seventeen.  Titled "Picasso and the Nonconformity of Art," it revealed his avant-garde thinking about modern art.

Botero moved to Bogotá in 1951 and held his first one-man exhibition there at the Leo Matiz Gallery.  The following year, at the age of twenty, he was awarded a Second Prize at the National Salon in Bogotá.  With the money he earned from the Salon award and his exhibitions, Botero fulfilled his longtime desire to travel to Spain, France and Italy to study the work of the old masters.  In Madrid, he visited El Prado Museum daily while studying at the San Fernando Academy.  In Florence, he studied at the Academy of San Marcos and was profoundly influenced by the works of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno.

It was during a brief stay in Mexico that Botero produced Still Life with Mandolin (1956), the first work in which "puffed-up" form makes a definite
appearance.  Two years later he was awarded a First Prize at the National Salon in Bogotá for his Bridal Chamber: Homage to Mantegna, a work inspired in Mantegna's 1474 frescoes for the Ducal Palace in Mantua.

Botero later did a second version on this theme, which is now in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum.

Botero moved to New York in 1960 and the following year the Museum of
Modern Art of New York acquired his painting Mona Lisa, Age Twelve for its
collection.  During this period he experimented briefly with a gestural brushstroke, which Botero called his flirtation with the School of New York. Over the next years Botero continued to explore the manipulation of form for aesthetic effect, gradually eliminating all traces of brushwork and texture, opting instead for smooth inflated shapes.  His continuing attraction to the Colombia of his youth is reflected in paintings rooted in small town Colombian life--middle-class family groups, heads of state, prelates, madonnas, military men, prostitutes and opulent still lives with exotic fruit.  By the end of the 1970s, Botero's fame was world-wide.

In 1973 Botero left New York for Paris and began to produce sculpture, although without giving up painting.  His work in a three-dimensional art was a natural progression for an artist singularly dedicated to expressing volume and mass.  It is not the semblance of volume, however, but volume itself, a tangible volume, that the medium of sculpture offers.  His vision involves the conviction that monumentality is not so much a question of size as it is of proportion.  It is a search for the heroic in art, an attribute that Botero first discovered as a student in Florence.

Today Fernando Botero divides his time between Paris, New York and Tuscany. His paintings, sculptures, and drawings are exhibited and represented in museum collections throughout the world.  He is an artist who at a very early age developed a style of his own which established him firmly both on the local art scene and abroad, and as one of the masters of twentieth-century art.

Botero Exhibition-Artist Botero in Washington D.C.
An exhibition presented by The Art Museum of the Americas

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