Fernando Botero - Photo of the artist - Image via huffpostcom

Fernando Botero/ Fernando Botero Angulo

Colombia 1932

Sculpture, Painting

www.fernandobotero.com

Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero Angulo
Male
Colombia
1932

Unquestionably the most successful matador that ever became a visual artist, Fernando Botero is a painter and sculptor from Colombia recognized for creating bloated, oversized depictions of different people, various animals and elements of the natural world. Ever since his first exhibition from the year of 1948, Botero has been concentrating on situational portraiture consolidated by his subjects’ proportional exaggerations and distortions. His signature style, also known as Boterismo, relies on exaggerated volume in order to represent anything from political criticism to humor, depending on what the goal of the piece is.

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Fernando Botero – Matador, 1984 (Left) / Family, 1983 (Right)

The Background of His Biography

Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, Colombia, on the 19th of April, 1932. Ever since he was a tiny toddler, he dreamed of how one day he will be wielding a sword and a muleta, enjoying cheers from the audience as they were screaming his name in a matador arena. With those goals in mind, Botero attended a matador school for several years in his youth, working hard at making his dreams come true. However, at one point he suddenly made a radical decision to quit the matador school and start pursuing a career of a visual artist, something he originally desired. It came off as a big surprise to many, but Fernando actually began painting at a young age, inspired by the pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial art that surrounded him, as well as the politicly fueled pieces of Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist and a husband of the legendary Frida Kahlo. What came as an even greater surprise is the fact Botero was welcomed with much attention and that he started to be praised by experts for his work before he turned the age of sixteen! As was previously mentioned, Fernando’s first exhibition was in 1948 and his first one-man show happened two years later in Bogota. Besides the pre-Colombian/Spanish colonial art and the political murals of Diego Rivera, Botero was also heavily influenced by the two of his artistic idols – Francisco de Goya and Diago Velazquez. Considered to be a miracle child with immense potential and talent, Fernando decided to go to the land of his idols and study painting in Madrid, where he made a living by duplicating images dangling in the Prado and merchandising the copies to tourists.

At the start of his career, Botero experimented with different related entries and tools, but even then had his characteristic aesthetic of proportional exaggerations and distortions

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Fernando Botero – Self-Portrait, 1959

Fernando Botero and His Early Art

Throughout the turbulent 1950s, Fernando Botero experimented with proportion and size within his paintings, exploring which kinds of effects could be achieved through the usage of dimensions. Soon, he began revealing what will eventually become his trademark – round, bloated humans and animals. After he was not able to break through on the Spanish art scene and was feeling his time in Madrid was coming to an end, Botero made a decisive move to the United States during the year of 1960. As the lights of The Big Apple were welcoming his arrival, a true milestone of his career was taking place. Fernando soon became noticed for the inflated proportions of his figures and his style turned out to be a hand in glove fit with the requirements of the growing political satire subgenre. He developed a technique of flat, bright colors and prominently outlined forms, the mix that was actually a small cultural nod towards his country’s folklore art. Although his portfolio did include innovative still-lifes and landscapes, Botero has typically concentrated his artistic efforts on his emblematic situational portraiture – the simple bottom line being the fact there were profits to be made in those sorts of works. In the meantime, Botero married three times, having wed his current wife, a Greek artist Sophia Vari, in the mid-1970s.

Of all the trending contemporary artists emerging from the 70s, Fernando Botero has often been suggested as one of the most instantly recognizable ones

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Fernando Botero – Mona Lisa, 1978 (Left) / Woman With Flowers, 1976 (Right)

Later Life and Mature Artworks

After he reached an international recognition and made an impressive reputation for himself, Botero felt his artistic expression was starting to show signs of slight stagnation. In order to refresh his creative arsenal, Fernando set his sails for Paris during the year of 1973, hoping that The City of Lights will prove sufficient enough to reinspire him. Here, Botero focused his attention on creating sculptures, a medium he never worked in prior to this moment. However, these works extended the foundational themes of his painting, as he again focused on his bloated subjects. Nevertheless, the change of scenery worked to his advantage and Fernando yet again started to work to the maximum of his abilities. As his sculpture developed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, outdoor exhibitions of his huge bronze figures were staged around the world, garnering great success wherever they were placed. Since the years of the third millennium came to be, Botero turned his artistic sniper to the overtly political, exhibiting a series of drawings and paintings concentrating on the violence in Colombia stemming from drug cartel activities – this was actually the second project of Fernando that focused on these themes, as he has previously covered the history of Pablo Escobar in the year of 1999. In 2005, he unveiled his Abu Ghraib series, based on reports of 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. It was nice and impressive to see that, despite his old age, Fernando Botero was still able to pack a punch and he did not lose his sharpness over the course of years behind him.

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Fernando Botero – Dancers at the Bar, 2001 (Left) / Miss Riviere, 2001 (Right)

The Most Colombian Artist in Colombia

Self-proclaiming himself the most Colombian of Colombian artists, Botero has been writing pages upon pages of his country’s art to a point it became ridicules to talk about the visual arts of Colombia without mentioning Fernando’s name. Due to his courage, craft and sharp tongue, Fernando Botero is considered to be the most internationally recognized and quoted living artist from Latino America. Showing both a wide range of craft and an impressive sharpness of mind, Botero has proven that one artist is more than capable of having a meaningful impact on politics and societies across the world, even though many like to ignore and deny that particular aspect of visual arts.

This artist is represented by kunzt.gallery, ROSENBAUM CONTEMPORARY Boca Raton, ROSENBAUM CONTEMPORARY Bal Harbour, MARLBOROUGH GALLERY Monaco and MARKOWICZ FINE ART GALLERY Miami.

Fernando Botero lives and works in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Featured Image: Fernando Botero – Photo of the artist – Image via huffpost.com
All images via wikiart.org

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Arte ColombianoMuseo de Arte de El Salvador - MARTE, San SalvadorGroup
2013Fernando Botero - BoterosutraGalerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzSolo
2013Fernando Botero - It Is All About VolumeGalerie Gmurzynska - Zürich, ZurichSolo
2013Fernando Botero - It Is All About VolumeGalerie Gmurzynska - Zug, ZugSolo
2013Botero - ViacrucisMuseo de Arte de Pereira, PereiraSolo
2013Fernando Botero  Galerie Thomas, MunichSolo
2013Dibujos de Fernando BoteroMuseo Blanes, MontevideoSolo
2013Bal HarbourRosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, FLGroup
2013Auslese - Sammlung Stiftung für Fruchtmalerei und SkulpturMannheimer Kunstverein, MannheimGroup
2012Fernando BoteroAlmeida & Dale Galeria de Arte, São PauloSolo
2012Fernando Botero: SculptureMarlborough New York, New York City, NYSolo
2012Fernando Botero CelebraciónMuseo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, BilbaoSolo
2012Hommage zum 80. Geburtstag - Gemälde, Skulpturen und ZeichnungenSamuelis Baumgarte Galerie, BielefeldSolo
2012Botero Abu Ghraib, la exposición de Fernando Botero inspirada en las torturas a prisioneros en la cárcel de IrakMuseo de la Memoria y de los Derechos Humanos, SantiagoSolo
2012Het Gewichtige LichaamMuseum Boerhaave, LeidenGroup
2012The Naked Truth: Nudes And Erotica In ArtPan American Art Projects - Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2011Fernando Botero, Via Crucis: The Passion of ChristMarlborough New York, New York City, NYSolo
2011BoteroBank Austria Kunstforum, ViennaSolo
2011Fernando BoteroOpera Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2011Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib SeriesBerkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CASolo
2011Botero - Dores da ColômbiaMuseu Oscar Niemeyer, CuritibaSolo
2011The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroToledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OHSolo
2011The Breath of MasterGalerie Bhak, SeoulGroup
2011Speaking with HandsMacau Museum of Art, MacaoGroup
2011Avant PremièreArt Plural Gallery Pte Ltd, SingaporeGroup
2011MonanismMona - Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, TASGroup
2010The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroWinnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, ManitobaSolo
2010Fernando BoteroGalerie Bhak, SeoulSolo
2010Fernando Botero: Selected Works of An Universal ArtistKM fine Arts, Chicago, ILSolo
2010Fernando Botero’s paintings at the Museum of Fine ArtsMuseum of Fine Arts - Budapest, BudapestSolo
2010Fernando BoteroGlenbow Museum, Calgary, ABSolo
2010Fernando BoteroMarlborough Monaco, MonacoSolo
2010Fernando Botero: Monumental SculptureMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYSolo
2010BoteroVered Gallery, East Hampton, NYSolo
2010Fernando BoteroPera Museum, IstanbulSolo
2010The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroNevada Museum of Art NMA, Reno, NVSolo
2010Fernando Botero , Peintures, Sculpture, aquarellesMarlborough Monaco, MonacoSolo
2010Fernando Botero - The Baroque WorldThe Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FLSolo
2010The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroMuseum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, FLSolo
2010Sculpture: Twelve Independent VisionsMarlborough Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2010The weighty bodyMuseum Dr. Guislain, GhentGroup
2010Press Art - Sammlung Annette und Peter NobelMuseum der Moderne - MdM Mönchsberg, SalzburgGroup
2010Intimacy! Baden in der KunstKunstmuseum Ahlen, AhlenGroup
2009Fernando BoteroGalerie Thomas, MunichSolo
2009Fernando Botero - Gente Del CircoContini Galleria d´Arte, VeniceSolo
2009Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib SeriesBerkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CASolo
2009Fernando Botero - The Baroque World Of Fernando BoteroBowers Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, CASolo
2009The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroColorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, COSolo
2009Fernando Botero: The CircusJames Goodman Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2009Fernando BoteroThomas Gibson Fine Art, LondonSolo
2009The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroNaples Museum of Art, Naples, FLSolo
2009Works on PaperMarlborough New York, New York City, NYGroup
2009Latitudes - Mestres Latino-americanosMuseu Oscar Niemeyer, CuritibaGroup
2009Summer ExhibitionMarlborough New York, New York City, NYGroup
2008The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroBrooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TNSolo
2008Fernando Botero - Circus SeriesGalerie Gmurzynska - Zürich, ZurichSolo
2008The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroNew Orleans Museum of Art NOMA, New Orleans, LASolo
2008Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib - El CircoIVAM - Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, ValenciaSolo
2008The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroDelaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DESolo
2008Latin American MastersMarlborough New York, New York City, NYGroup
2007Fernando BoteroMarlborough Monaco, MonacoSolo
2007Fernando Botero: Paintings, Pastels, SculpturesKM fine Arts, Chicago, ILSolo
2007Fernando Botero: Abu GhraibAmerican University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DCSolo
2007Botero - SkulpturenGalerie Thomas, BerlinSolo
2007Botero unda mirada diferentCasal Solleric, Palma de MallorcaSolo
2007The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroOklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OKSolo
2007Fernando BoteroPalazzo Reale, MilanSolo
2007The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroSan Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TXSolo
2007Fernando BoteroGalerie Thomas, MunichSolo
2007The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroMusée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec CitySolo
2006Fernando Botero - Abu GhraibMarlborough New York, New York City, NYSolo
2006Fernando Botero - El dolor de Colombia en los ojos de BoteroMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes - MNBA, Buenos AiresSolo
2006Fernando BoteroEscher in Het Paleis, The HagueSolo
2006Fernando BoteroNational Art Gallery - Alexandros Soutzos Museum, AthensSolo
2006Fernando BoteroGalleria Tega, MilanSolo
2006Fernando Botero - La Violencia en ColombiaMAC Museo de Arte Contemporána, Panama CitySolo
2006The Baroque World of Fernando BoteroMusée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec CitySolo
2005Fernando BoteroKunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch HallSolo
2005Fernando BoteroJ&P Fine Art, ZurichSolo
2004Botero in Singapore - Blockbuster!Singapore Art Museum, SingaporeSolo
2004Fernando Botero - Works on PaperNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NYSolo
2004otero, marbres et fusainsGalerie Hopkins, ParisSolo
2016Botero. Via Crucis. La Passione di CristoPalazzo delle Esposizioni, RomeSolo