Medellin, Colombia 1932 - 2023 Monaco
Fernando Botero was the best known Columbian contemporary artist and one of the most famous proponents of Latin American fine art. He had his first solo exhibition in Bogotá at the age of nineteen. The following year money from a prize allowed him to undertake a voyage to Europe, where he studied the Old Masters as well as the frescoes of Italian Renaissance. Botero‘s paintings are influenced by South American art, such as pre-Columbian works and modern artists like Diego Rivera as much as they are by European artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velázquez or Albrecht Dürer. In 1956 he drew „Still Life with Mandolin“, the first work in which he changed the volume of the object. Botero‘s figures are life personified, not fat, but voluminous, not shapeless, but voluptuous, regal, sensuous and formidable. And even when he depicts them satirically, he does not offer them up to ridicule. As early as 1956 Botero was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Prize. From the early 1970s, besides painting, the artist also created sculpture. A characteristic trait, also of his sculptural language, is the exaggerated voluptuousness of the figures and objects, heightened by a concomitant reduction of details. His monumental sculptures were presented in open air exhibitions at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence, on the Champs Elysées in Paris, in Monte Carlo, on Park Avenue in New York, in Chicago, in Madrid, along Canale Grande in Venice and in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, to name just a few.
Fernando Botero has frequently exhibited at Galerie Thomas; the gallery has been handling his work for decades. Since 1997, when the first solo exhibition was shown at the gallery, Galerie Thomas has been working directly with Botero. On the occasion of the 75th birthday of the artist, Galerie Thomas and six galleries all over the world opened an exhibition with works by Botero on April 19, 2007. That same year Galerie Thomas, in cooperation with the Embassy of Columbia, presented an exhibition of Fernando Botero‘s monumental bronzes in the city centre of Berlin, which was inaugurated in the presence of the artist. The following year, the documentary film "Botero - Born in Medellin" by director Peter Schamoni premiered in Munich at the start of the film festival “Filmtage München”. To mark the occasion, Galerie Thomas installed a monumental bronze by Botero in front of the cultural centre Gasteig, the home of the festival.
The collaboration of Galerie Thomas with the exceptional artist Fernando Botero has long changed to friendship, characterized by admiration and trust.