Posts Tagged ‘Fernando Botero’

Fernando Botero in his workshop
Wow! So the world renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero is being investigated by the Italian “financial police” looking to recover what they say is owed in taxes – only the princely sum of one million dollars US.

Botero says he owes nothing wrong and has only given work to over 120 artists and artisan of Pietrasanta, Italy over the last 20 odd years. The police on the other hand say that since the sculptures are completed in Italy and then sent overseas to clients and galleries, that there are taxes to be paid and not just by the workers – but by the master himself.

Botero is indignant. He says he owes nothing and has broken no laws and if the Italian government continue to hound him he will leave the town and take the jobs he provides elsewhere!

What should Botero do?


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Wow !! Looks like a big number doesn´t it?!

Unfortunately it is in Colombian pesos . . .however, it is still a tidy sum of around USD $450.000.

Which for Colombia means it was one of the biggest sales ever.

The auction was arranged by Maria Victoria Estrada and Ana Sokoloff and was held to raise funds for Colombian charities such as Conexión Colombia, Colombia Diversa, Fundación Genesis y Fundacion Juan Felipe Escobar.

Ana Sokoloff, who has worked with Christies in New York, and with many galleries in Bogota selected the artists for this auction with an eye on maintaining high quality latin american artworks in the auction. The auction was held in the top Colombian gallery “La Cometa” which is run by Esteban Jaramillo and has held exhibitions in the past of artist such as Luis Luna, Jason Galarraga and Le Parc.

Through this successful auction more than 600,000 Colombians should benefit in someway through the application of the money within the charities that are to benefit from some of the proceeds.

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Fernando Botero is one of the worlds richest artists. His workshop which manages the production of monumental which are placed worldwide employs around 100 people – now that`s hard to imagine – in Italy, so we are talking about paying people in euros not pesos!

With an average wage of around €20.000 per year then thats over €2.000.000 on wages alone – wow! I bet even Damien Hirst doesn`t get close to that sum for the people he employs. Anyway – to pay out so much money (and I would suggest that that sum could be doubled in relation to purchase of bronze and traveles and exhibition expenses etc) Mr Fernando Botero obviously has to generate quite a tidy sum of cash each year. I would suggest that it might be around USD $10-20.000.000. Big business indeed.

So . . . . . .

What Does Botero Do With All His Money?

Well he obviously has a very enjoyable lifestyle, but just recently it was revealed that Botero actually gives a lot of cash away. He is a philanthropist. Not perhaps in the league of Gates or Buffet but he is actually very generous with his cash.

Let me list a few items:

  • Botero Prize for Art (annual) : USD $50.000
  • He set up a Senior Home for older poor elder people in Bogota:Est. $300.000
  • He set up a system to pay for children’s food in the poor Choco province :Est. $20.000 / year
  • He donated $200.000.000 worth of artwork to Colombia for its people to enjoy.

Botero’s philanthropy, in fact, was often low-profile and most Colombians, apart form his museum donation and art prize would not be aware of his other philanthropic work. He most truly is a most wonderful person.

You can read more about this story and an interview by Daniel Chang with Botero at the link below.

Botero Interview on his Philanthropy


Find out more on Botero:

The Art of Fernando Botero


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Bodegón - Still Life by Botero

Yep, I bet you were expecting to see a fat person – right! Well, Botero does much more than that and hopefully if you read this full article you´ll start to understand a little more about this man – an artistic legend in his own lifetime – and his art.

The Art of Fernando Botero

Of Caricature & Commercialization . . .

Fernando Botero is Latin America´s most well known and highest quoted living artist, yet his work is often described by its detractors as caricaturist and too simplistic.

Such are the problems faced by world renowned artists – sigh!

However, in some ways I have to agree. There is a high degree of caricature in his work but it is not aimed in any particular direction and as such is not looking to create satire or mockery as is normal with caricature – except perhaps in a self-effacing way. What some perceive as caricaturesque in his work I simply believe is his style. No more, no less.

Botero Ballet Dancer

The other accusation is that Botero sold his soul to the devil of commercialization. Again, I have to agree – but let me explain what I see and feel about his work.

I know many artists and they are often different to you and me – us “normal” people. Botero is an artist and so he is probably different. 99% of artists just want to express their ideas so it is not unusual that when an idea becomes a hit for an artist – usually after many years of exploration – either through an internal search or via reasoning and study – that they will take that idea to its limit.

That is all that Botero has done – but yes, after 30 years of exploration it is impossible for him to develop it much more: His original idea being how the inter-relation of components in a drawing or painting can distort or shape what the viewer perceives. That idea rapidly developed to what in the mid-eighties became his trademark – fat people. Nowadays the initial relationship between items in his latest works is largely lost and has been replaced by what people believe they have been seeing over the past two or three decades – fat people. And it is here that the commercialization of his work began – with an easily recognizable trademark that most people can understand.

But we also have to look at the art industry which since Warhol has been transformed. Art through poster reproduction has been allowed to enter everyones home. So is Botero at fault because his art was commercialized because it could be commercialized? I don´t think so. Very few artists I know have a $ dollar sign in front of their eyes when they work. It is just NOT what motivates them – and I am sure Botero is no different.

Botero and his History of Art

There have however been another two persistent themes in the artists work: His integration of history (generally euro-centric) as related to the arts in his work and of course a relationship with his native Colombia.

Given that Botero went to live and study in Europe while still a teenager says a lot about the man and his desire to learn. In those days the world was a much bigger place and in the concept of a trip to Europe at that time was still a huge enterprise. To leave home and travel so far was no mean feat – he really had to have had a massive desire to learn his trade to have made that effort then.

So having traveled to Spain and France he finally settled in Florence and it was there that he started to discover himself as an artist- that he wanted to re-invent the volume that has originally been discovered in Florence only 500 years earlier! . . . and set it to his own works. And he was successful in that.

So, in many ways, although Botero says it was an accident that he made his discovery of volume. I believe it was a much more due to a well orchestrated happenstance or Jungian synchronicity. Or to state in another way: The more one studies, learns and practices the greater one becomes. What happened in Florence was a NATURAL occurrence destined to happen to someone intelligent and brave enough to go out and explore – not dissimilar to a 15th century adventurer discovering a new world – yet recognizing that it has similar attributes to the one left behind.

Botero has built up within his work a reflection of the art history that he has studied and he has reproduced that in his own personal way.

Botero and Abu Ghraib

Botero - Abu Ghraib

For me the culmination of the artists work lies in his expression of the incidents created by the US soldiers at Abu-Ghraib in Iraq. Although he toned down the political significance when the works were released to the public in 2005 there is no doubt as to the depth of what he is expressing in historical terms given the artists trajectory – being pretty much a quiet and private person he probably didnt really want to rock the boat – but anyone who knows recognises that Botero, intelligent as he is, has figured out that these are the works that will mark his name in the annals of history when people look back in a hundred years or two hundred years from now. They depict the America of George Bush.

Abu Ghraib - Botero Abu Ghraib - Botero

Now I heard some say that Botero was just looking for publicity and that is why he chose Abu Ghraib as his subject matter – personally I doubt that. Colombia has had its unfair share of violence over the last few decades and that was one of the topics that also moved Botero to create some of his more violent works in the nineties as can be seen in this book available from Amazon.

Botero Book

Here is a link to a YouTube video with Fernando Botero being interviewed at Berkeley – you can probably skip the first 8 – 10 minutes as it is just introduction (though quite interesting all the same!)

Like to see which Botero posters are available? Just click that link!

Wondering about the prices of Botero´s artwork – check them out on the net.


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Noooo! I do not mean the artist is being sold . . . . just one of his paintings: The well known work ‘El conquistador’ by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero will be brought to auction tomorrow in Madrid.

With an estimated value of US$630.000 I predict that this large painting (224 x 170 cm) signed in 1984 and showing a spanish “conquistador” looking at the spectator while holding a blunderbuss in one hand and a sword in the other while treading on the face of a dead indian, will reach a much greater price…..probably over USD $1.000.000 if all goes well.

Hopefully this piece of art still belongs to Botero. Although he is estimated to have a fortune greater than USD $100.000.000 he has always denied this…and I believe him.

Making huge amounts of money in the art world is not always so easy and as in any business there are many cogs that have to boiled for the machine to work correctly. So, although the Maestro has never pleaded poverty I feel certain that his wealth is not as great as many would be led to believe . . . !

So tomorrow, October 9th at the Sala Retiro de Caja Madrid, this great work along with other Spanish and Latin American artists such as Antoni Tàpies, Oswaldo Guayasamín, Danilo Vinardell, Agustín Bejarano and Roberto Fabelo.

If you would like to know more about international pricing of artworks you can always go to ArtPrice which is THE place to get transparent data on the international art market.

Get Transparent Art Prices Now!

PostDatum: Well the results are in and Mr Botero´s artwork sold for the reported price of . . . . 645.700 euros (though I am not if that includes the auctioneers commission)  which is right now about USD $930.000 so I wasn’t far away in my estimate.

PS: If any readers are looking to purchase a Botero original then please contact me initially through this blog.

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