WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Art Museum presents The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, a major retrospective exhibition featuring 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings, on view March 15, 2008 June 8, 2008. Fernando Botero (b. 1932), well known for his extravagantly rounded figures, is one of the most internationally popular artists working today. Using a broad range of media, the Colombian-born Botero has created a world of his own, one that is at once accessible and enigmatic.
Boteros brilliant colors and massive forms make you stand up and take notice immediately, said Dr. Mary F. Holahan, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Delaware Art Museum . But then his paintings and drawings and sculptures take you through a more subtle range of emotionsempathy, outrage, curiosity, and just plain good humor. The result is that you just keep wanting to come back to look again and again!
The Baroque World of Fernando Botero presents a selection of the best works from various stages in Boteros development as an artist. Drawn from Boteros private collection and assembled over the past 50 years, this exhibition includes favorite works that the artist was unable to part with, as well as pieces reacquired years after they left his possession. Many have never before been exhibited in public. And the exhibition goes beyond the Delaware Art Museum s galleries, as three of Boteros sculptures are being mounted in the Museums Copeland Sculpture Garden : Hand, Smoking Woman, and The Rape of Europa.
Fernando Boteros roots are in Medellín, and his earliest artistic impressions were molded in a Colombian town close to the Andes mountains. His first images drew upon the Spanish colonial Baroque, a movement of extravagant richness, featuring the sumptuous decorations that flourish on the walls of churches in South America .
Botero has spent most of his years as an artist away from his native Colombia , but his art has maintained an uninterrupted link to Latin America . Latin American Baroque imagery is reflected in Boteros work when portraying himself as a small boy in the arms of Our Blessed Lady of Colombia, carrying a diminutive flag with the national colors, or in depictions of his mother as a widow, in her desperate struggle to survive with her three young children. Botero can also shock viewers with images of terror and violence, referring to the political instability, the attacks, the kidnappings, and the torture prevalent in his country.
The exhibition follows Botero in his extensive studies of the history of European art, focusing on the influence of Velazquez in Spain ; Ingres, Delacroix, and Courbet in France ; and Renaissance artists in Italy . He also turned his attention to Mexico , where the monumental murals by Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros had a profound impact. Botero absorbed the dramatic self-portraits of Frida Kahlo and her idiosyncratic interpretation of Latin American folklore, and was intrigued by the mysteries of Pre-Colombian artifacts.
Another important theme illustrated in the exhibition is the reality of contemporary life in Latin America as observed by Boteros satirical eye. A section is presented on everyday life in South America : women observed in the intimacy of their boudoir, street scenes, dance halls, and the suggestion of houses of ill repute. Even in his still-life paintings, Botero is capable of introducing a hint of menace, creating a sense of uneasiness difficult to define.
Boteros superb craftsmanship is evident in his drawings, especially those executed in pastel. His pastels have a thoroughly finished look and a richness of color, and they have been compared to early etchings by Picasso. Botero has also worked in bronze and marble sculpture, a seminal element in his oeuvre. His monumental bronzes were seen along the Champs Elysées in Paris , in front of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence , and along Park Avenue in New York .
The Baroque World of Fernando Botero is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria , Virginia . The Baroque World of Fernando Botero is accompanied by a fully illustrated, full-color exhibition catalog. The author is Dr. John Sillevis, Curator of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague , who selected the works for this exhibition. The catalog is published by Art Services International. The Baroque World of Fernando Botero is presented in Delaware by DuPont. The Delaware Art Museum received a MetLife Foundation Museum and Community Connections grant to support programming for this exhibition. In Delaware , this exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts , a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware , in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.