The Baroque World of Fernando Botero

John Sillevis; With contributions by David Elliott and Edward J. Sullivan

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Colombian-born Fernando Botero (b. 1932) is a painter, sculptor, and draftsman renowned for his extravagantly rounded figures combining the polish and excess of Spanish colonial baroque with the social realism of the Mexican muralists. Their humorous exaggeration belies the more serious content of Botero’s work—commentary on colonialism, political instability in Latin America, and the vernacular artistic traditions of the region, as well as European art history. 

Accompanying the artist’s first American retrospective in over thirty years, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero is the most extensive study of his life and work to date. Drawn exclusively from Botero’s private collection, the 100 works featured in this book, including previously unpublished paintings and drawings, represent the full scope of his oeuvre from a uniquely personal perspective. Many of these—portraits of friends and family members and remembered scenes—have remained in the artist’s possession since their creation, while others he has bought back over the years as markers of significant developments in his career. Three essays examine the artist’s creative life, from the aesthetic environment in which Botero developed his unique style to his catalyzing influence on the Colombian art world of the 1960s and 70s.

John Sillevis is chief curator of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. David Elliott is director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Edward J. Sullivan is professor of fine arts and dean of humanities at New York University and author of the forthcoming Language of Objects in the Art of the Americas (Yale).


Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Canada (January 27 – April 21, 2007)

San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas (May 26 – August 19, 2007)

Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma (September 15 – December 9, 2007)

Society of Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida (January 18 – February 24, 2008)

Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware (March 15 – June 7, 2008)

New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana (June 28 – September 21, 2008)

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee (October 18, 2008 – January 11, 2009)

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado (May 23– August 15, 2009)

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California (September 12 – December 6, 2009)

“This beautifully produced, in-depth overview of Botero’s life and oeuvre provides a much-needed key to his uniquely baroque sensibility, technical virtuosity, and profound humanitarian concerns. . . . In one of many striking observations, Sillevis aligns Botero’s baroque fullness of form with the magic realism of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez.”—Booklist (Starred Review)

"A comprehensive overview of drawings, paintings, and sculptures from [Botero's] private collection—many reproduced here for the first time. For all its apparent light-hearted caricature, Botero's work presents a disturbing and compelling commentary on many of society's darker issues. An impressive presentation."—Art Times

"This catalog for the first retrospective exhibition of Botero's work in the U.S. in more than three decades provides a fine selection of his entire oeuvre. . . . Well produced, reasonably priced. Recommended."—Choice

"Columbian artist Botero's oversize figures are instantly recognizable, but the story of his baroque sensibility, technical virtuosity, and humanitarian concerns has never before been so sensitively told, nor so much of his work so beautifully reproduced."—Booklist (Top 10 Art Books of 2007)
ISBN: 9780300123593
Publication Date: March 28, 2007
Co-publisher: Published in association with Art Services International
283 pages, 9 3/4 x 11
89 b/w + 128 color illus.
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