Bogotá, Colombia – September 16, 2023
Fernando Botero, a revered figure in Latin America’s art world, has passed away at the age of 91. His daughter, Lina Botero, confirmed that the Colombian artist succumbed to complications arising from pneumonia at his residence in Monaco.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro took to social media to share the somber news, stating, “Fernando Botero, the painter of our traditions and defects, the painter of our virtues, has died.”
Botero’s artistic legacy is marked by his distinctive portrayal of rotund and whimsical figures, often satirizing the upper echelons of Colombian society. Born in Medellín, Botero was the son of a traveling salesman and a seamstress and once harbored dreams of becoming a matador.
While he spent most of his life residing in Europe and the United States, Botero frequently returned to Colombia to draw inspiration from his homeland. In recognition of his immense contribution to the world of art, his hometown has declared a week of mourning in his honor.
Botero’s artistic oeuvre extended beyond the caricatured figures for which he is renowned. Notably, he created powerful pieces that shed light on the plight of individuals subjected to U.S. abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In response to these harrowing events, Botero expressed, “These works are the result of the indignation that the violations in Iraq produced in me and the rest of the world.”
His artworks attained tremendous popularity, often fetching prices in the millions of dollars. They graced the walls of prestigious museums and prominent locations worldwide, including the famous Park Avenue in New York City and Champs-Élysées in Paris. Botero’s profound connection with his homeland is evident in the presence of his creations in Medellín and Bogotá, where the esteemed Botero Museum stands as a testament to his enduring legacy.
Fernando Botero’s departure marks the end of an era in Latin American art, leaving behind an indelible imprint on the global art scene. His impact will be celebrated and cherished for generations to come.
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