Fernando Botero Obituary, Death – Fernando Botero Angulo, a prominent figure in the world of contemporary art, has passed away. Co-owner of the Art of the World gallery in Houston and a close friend, Mauricio Vallejo, confirmed his death. Mr. Botero, who battled pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease, left an indelible mark on the art world.
Botero’s distinctive aesthetic, often referred to as Boterismo, captivated audiences worldwide and adorned renowned locations such as the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Park Avenue in New York, and Madrid’s Paseo de Recoletos. His oversized, iconic figures brought Latin American art to global prominence in the latter half of the 20th century. With a unique blend of irreverence and keen observation, he portrayed Colombia’s urban scenes, highlighting extravagance, pomposity, and greed.
His artistic journey began with sharp visual contrasts, juxtaposing tiny creatures like snakes and parrots against blimpy bullfighters, bishops, prostitutes, and politicians. Rotund faces sported tiny mustaches, and hefty ladies smoked miniature cigarettes. While his early works exuded voluptuousness and whimsy, Botero later delved into darker themes inspired by contemporary events, addressing issues like drug violence in Colombia and the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal in Iraq.
Botero’s art enjoyed immense popularity and commanded millions of dollars, although it faced criticism, particularly in the 1960s, with some dismissing it as gimmickry or caricature. Edward J. Sullivan, a New York University professor, attributed this animosity to the humor and accessibility of Botero’s public art installations, challenging an establishment that often embraced inscrutability.
In his own words, Botero explained his philosophy: “I believe a painting has to talk directly to the viewer, with composition, color, and design, without a professor to explain it.” His cheekiness was evident in paintings of historical figures like Marie Antoinette strolling through Colombian streets or a colossal ballet dancer at the barre. Botero adamantly rejected calls to abandon his voluminous style, stating, “El Greco painted El Grecos his whole life.”
Born in Medellín on April 19, 1932, Botero overcame a challenging upbringing, discovering his passion for art amidst his early experiences in a bullfighting school. After being expelled from Jesuit school for his admiration of Pablo Picasso, he pursued art, eventually studying in Madrid. Fernando Botero Angulo’s passing marks the end of an era in the art world. His unique style and unapologetic approach to art ensured that his legacy will endure for generations to come.