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Exhibition of marble and bronze sculptures by Fernando Botero opens at Marlborough Gallery in New York
Fernando Botero, Donna Blanca, 2011. Painted bronze, 20 1/8 x 45 5/8 x 20 1/2 in., 51.12 x 115.89 x 52.07 cm. Photo: © Fernando Botero, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Marlborough Gallery announces an exhibition of marble and bronze sculptures by the world-renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero on October 24th. This will be Botero’s first major New York exhibition of his highly prized small and medium size sculptures. The show will continue to December 1.

Botero’s monumental sculptures are well known the world over. They have been shown in critically acclaimed exhibitions, much loved by the public, in such capital cities as Paris, Washington D.C., Madrid, Berlin, Monaco, Tokyo, and also in New York. The summer of 1999 marked an unprecedented event when the City of Florence invited Botero to exhibit his monumental sculptures in the famous Piazza della Signoria next to the Uffizi Gallery. This was the first time that a contemporary artist had been offered this extraordinary site to exhibit work, and the great honor was not lost on Botero. Just as admired and loved as his monumental works, Botero’s more intimate sculptures are perhaps less well known by the public because shows of them have been seen less often. Marlborough’s exhibition will offer the rare opportunity to view a number of superb examples of Botero’s art in sculpture on a smaller scale.

The exhibition will consist of nineteen sculptures. While there is a sculptural piece representing every year from 2005 to 2011, over half the works come from the years 2009 to 2011. The show will also include a coveted tour de force work from 2001 of Dancers. The sculptures range in size from about 12” in height to 50” and portray quintessential subjects associated with the master’s oeuvre. There will be two sculptural versions of ballerinas, several classical examples of reclining and seated nudes in varied positions, and two versions of the artist’s unique take on male and female riders on a horse. Perhaps the most cherished of Botero’s subjects are of animals and Marlborough’s show will have three particularly fine examples: Bird from 2011, Cat, and Horse with Bridle, both from 2009. The show will also highlight two magnificent sculptures in white marble: a reclining nude, the embodiment of calm and tranquility, lying face up with her head resting on a pillow, and one of Botero’s most cherished images, Lovers, 2010, where the beloved woman sits firmly on the seated man’s knee, her right leg linked over his left leg in an embrace of eternal happiness. In these two outstanding sculptures the manifest purity of the white marble enhances the subjects’ nobility and power.

Botero’s sculptures, like his paintings, explore curvilinear form and voluptuous volume. They bring the amalgam of form, shape and volume to its fullest visible realization. While the sculptures are figurative in nature, they are abstract in essence. Botero does not give to his sculptures individual traits. He has stated, “I never give expressive facial features to my human figures. I don’t want them to have personalities but to represent ‘types’ that I create…What I am concerned with is form – creating smooth, rounded surfaces that emphasize the sensuality of my work.” What one might add to this is that in these exquisite sculptures Botero has created a universal language of sensual form that, like music, can speak to everyone.

Botero was born in Medellin, Columbia in 1932. He moved to Bogota in 1951 and had his first exhibition there the same year at Galeria Leo Matiz. His first retrospective took place in 1970 in Germany at museums in Baden Baden, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg. Since then, Botero has continually showed in museums all over the world. Within the last two decades he has had an astounding number of museum exhibitions in the following countries: Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the United States.

Botero’s work can be found in forty-six museums. Among the most prominent are: The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Colombia; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany; Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany; and The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. Many books have been published on Botero’s work in English, Spanish, French, German Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

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October 24, 2012

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