It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to one of the most outstanding artists of the 20th century: Fernando Botero passed away last week at the age of 91.
His internationally esteemed oeuvre was a tribute to the exuberance of life: "I had an intuitive interest in volume. No one told me that volume could be important," he said in an interview. "I just had to express the power and sensitivity in exaggerated volumes in what I was doing. And that guided me my whole life."
Our gallery worked extensively with the great Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero not only during our last major solo exhibition in the 2010s, but also until shortly before his death. Botero left his mark on art history far beyond South America and is present internationally in the most important museums, collections and public spaces.
Our gallery bids farewell to Fernando Botero. We will always remember him as one of the greatest artists and people.
Fernando Botero was born in Medellín (Colombia) in 1932 and is one of the most important artists internationally. Already in 1948, without any academic training, he participated in a group exhibition. He studied at the Academia de las Bellas Artes de San Fernando and the Prado Museum (both Madrid) in 1952. Full-bodied forms are Botero's trademark. He combines a seemingly naive joy in storytelling, a refined and layered traditional painting style, and respect for the Old Masters to achieve a new sensibility - and a grotesque sense of humor. In the early 1990s, there was a scandal over his monumental bronzes of powerfully built people, which were placed on the Champs Elysées in Paris, among other places. Botero died in Monaco in 2023.
A reference to Botero's respect for the Old Masters is justified, although his work is quite different. Michelangelo, for example, was convinced that the finished sculpture was already in the block of marble, and all that was needed was to chip away everything else. Botero, it seems, thinks in the opposite direction: he begins, like Maillol, with a formal concept and lets the figure fill it out.This is also true of his paintings. The roundness of his painted figures does not reflect or comment on reality; rather, just as in Archaic Smile, it is a principle of form.
It is said that Botero's art is influenced by Colombian folk art. If this is so, then one must think here less of paintings or textiles, and more of the stone statues of San Augustin; there one could find a source of inspiration for the roundness of his figures.
The figures - humans, animals, plants - have a strong pictorial effect, also through their depicted body mass. His themes and motifs can also be interpreted as memory images, seen through the lens of his aesthetic principles; but they are always overlaid anew by more recent memories and current experiences. They do not only show Colombia, they show the world and interpret it, and in this process our views also change.
Fernando Botero. Sammlung Würth und Leihgaben, bis 04.09.2016, Musée Würth, Erstein, Frankreich
Fernando Botero, bis 04.10.2015, Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul
Fernando Botero - Boterosutra, bis 06.09.2015, Forum Würth Rorschach, Rorschach, Schweiz
Traum-Bilder. Ernst, Magritte, Dalí, Picasso, Antes, Nay ...Die Wormland-Schenkung, Sammlung ModerneKunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne München, 14.09.2013–26.01.2014
Via Crucis, Wanderausstellung, unter anderem im Antioquia-Museum, Medellín, 2011 - 2013
Museo Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Spanien, 09.10.2012 bis 01/2013
Fernando Botero - Una celebración, Palacio Bellas Artes de México, 27.03.2012 bis 10.06.2012