Archive for November 7, 2012

Artist of the moment….Fernando Botero..

Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, Columbia in the year 1932. His style even has its own name “Boterismo.” He mainly paints the female figure but sometimes paints couples engaged in activities together. He gained a following after winning the Best in Show at the Columbian Salon. The Salon was held from 1940 to 2002, and brought prominence and acclaim to many past winners.

The artist is known for his paintings of the female figure. He emphasizes and tends to exaggerate the roundness and softness of the female figure.

Below is a clip showing some signature works of the artist.

The artist spends most of the year working in Paris, but makes sure to spend at least one month of the year in Medellin.

He was born number two out of three children. His father was a salesman and passed away when he was only four. His mom worked as a seamstress and an uncle helped out raising Fernando. He was not close to museums, but lived  a great life in the big city and was exposed to Baroque style art by going to churches and cathederals.

The artist went to a Jesuit school and then studied how to become a matador. He was able to earn some money and first became published at the age of sixteen. He drew some illustrations that were published by a local newspaper.

First group exhibition was in 1948.

Like many artists he also spent little more than one year working on theater set and stage design.

Botero has enjoyed many parts of Europe. For periods of time living in Barcelona, Madrid, and Florence.  In 1953 he moved to Paris and became fascinated by the Louvre Museum.

Having so much experience the artist has worked with graphite, watercolors, oils , in bronze, marble and charcoal.  The price range for watercolors are from $50,000 to $300,000.  Graphite works range from $5,000 to $70,000. Bronzes range from $80,000 and up. One bronze titled “Dancers” sold for $1.76 million in 2011.

In his way of seeing he exaggerates the roundness of his characters. On occasion he even calls them fat. Sometimes the  public hasn’t understood why he paints it this manner and I think its best summed up by his own words. ” An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to justify it.”

I found his words to be true and an example of why I think impressionism is just fantastic. The artist can not only connect with the viewer by painting an object that looks like an object, but the artist can also put his own feelings into the work as well.  Much like the beach scenes painted by the previous artist Potthust, he loved to paint the beach and people enjoying themselves. Just looking at his works makes me think of summer and fun at the beach. Its obvious Botero is quite fond of the larger female figure.

If I were to compare his work to another artist it would be R.C. Gorman. He painted large female figures of color that had a very carefree and playful aura about them. Below is a work by R.C. Gorman.

In 2005 he gained attention for a series done with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in the middle east. He painted many of the horrible events that took place. He didn’t profit from the works and donated them to museums.

He has been married twice. His second and current wife is a famous Greek sculptor named Sophia Vari. The couple spend  a majority of their time in Paris, Tuscany, and Columbia.

Below is a brief interview with the artist that took place in Swizterland in 2008.

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