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  • Provenance

    Marlborough Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Jean-Clarence Lambert, Botero Sculptures, Bogotá, 1998, no. 58, n.p. (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Standing just shy of four feet tall, Fernando Botero’s Niña has been rendered on an incredibly human scale. She has a patina that introduces a heightened sensuality, a tactile effect that is only heightened by the soft undulating forms with which she has been captured—be it her body, her hair or her dress. Niña was executed in 1981, only a few years after Botero had begun to pay increasing attention to the medium of sculpture, rather than the paintings for which he was formerly better known. The plastic arts are particularly suited to the swollen forms of Botero’s figures, and this has resulted in their incredible popularity—they have been shown not only in galleries and museums, but also in town centres as diverse as Paris, Florence and Jerusalem.

    Although Botero had experimented with sculpture as early as 1963, it was after his 1973 move to Paris that he had truly begun to explore the medium. Indeed, half a decade before Niña was created, in 1976-77, he essentially abandoned painting in favour of sculpture. In 1983, only two years after Niña was created, Botero’s love of sculpture would even lead him to acquire properties in Pietrasanta, next to one of the famous quarries whose marble was used by Michelangelo.

    This reveals the way in which Botero’s works are underpinned by a conscious communion with the Old Masters of Renaissance Italy. It was, after all, during his time in Florence in the 1950s that he had begun to consolidate his style, abandoning the fireworks of conspicuously and self-consciously avant garde painting in order to create works that conveyed a sense of form, volume and figure. Shortly afterwards, Botero moved to New York. It was at this time at the end of the 1950s that Botero would begin to explore the theme of the Niña, painting pictures of lone female figures, often with large heads. While some of these would feature a freedom of brushwork that would soon be abandoned, the Niña paintings nonetheless were a crucial step in Botero’s development. Crucially, they also played a key part in his international recognition: it was thanks to the intervention of the legendary curator Dorothy Miller that his Mona Lisa at the Age of 12 of 1959 would be acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

    It was in the mid-1950s that Botero had begun to see the artistic potential of disrupting the sense of scale of the recognisable world. This had initially come about when he had been painting a still life of a mandolin: he had realised that, by shrinking the size of the aperture in the instrument’s surface, he tampered with its entire sense of size. He lent it a new, distorted monumentality. Soon afterwards, he began to explore this in a number of other subject matters, and it has become a hallmark of his work, recognised internationally. As Botero pointed out to Time Out Shanghai in 2016, it is not only in pictures of the female form that he exploits the potential of scale through these enlargements:

    “some people think that I paint fat women. But if you see, everything I do is volumetric: if I do a landscape, a still life, a fruit, a bottle, a horse, a tree, everything is volumetric. And it doesn’t have anything to do with fatness. It has to do with a certain conception of sensuality in art: I am convinced that painting must be generous, sensual, voluptuous, and I discovered a way to express this sensuality magnifying forms and volumes. You see, it is not a comment about fatness or thinness; it is the reflection of a certain way to conceive beauty in art” (Botero, quoted in J. Newby, ‘Interview: Fernando Botero’, Time Out Shanghai, 25 February 2016, reproduced online).

    The subject matter of Niña appears linked less to the tradition of the Old Masters than to Botero’s own background in Colombia. There is an engaging innocence and modesty to this figure. She appears vulnerable despite—or perhaps even because of—her exaggerated mass. This sense of naiveté links her to Botero’s own youth: his memories of his early years in Medellín have long remained a vital touchstone for the artist. Looking at the simplified dress that Niña is wearing, it becomes clear that she is not a character from the early 1980s, but from some period further in the past, an idealised age seen very deliberately through rose-tinted glasses. She combines nostalgia with timelessness. In so doing, she manages to achieve the universality that Botero seeks in his work. ‘My subject matter is Colombia and it has always been Colombia,’ he has stated.

    ‘I lived many years in New York, in Paris, and I have never had the feeling to paint an American or a French subject matter. The thing is that the art - and the artist - must have roots in his own land, in his own life: my life is in Colombia, and my land is Colombia. Now, of course, the language that you use to express the subject matter must be universal: the composition, the colour, the balance, etc. In this sense, subject must be local, but the language must be universal, in order to touch any human being in the world’ (Botero, quoted in ibid.).

  • Catalogue Essay



    這顯示了博特羅的作品與意大利文藝復興時期的大師們的作品有著意識上之對話。畢竟,他在20世紀50年代在佛羅倫薩的時候,開始進一步鞏固自己的風格,放棄了前衛繪畫的炫耀性和刻意性,以求創作能夠傳遞形式、體量,和體態的作品。不久之後,博特羅移居紐約。正是在20世紀50年代末,博特羅才開始探索「小女孩」這一主題,繪畫獨自一人的、通常有著較大頭部的女性形象。儘管其中一些帶有很快又被藝術家所摒棄的自由筆觸,但這些「小女孩」畫作依然是博特羅藝術發展中的關鍵一步。至關重要的是,它們在他獲得國際上的認可也發揮了關鍵的作用:正是由於傳奇策展人多蘿西·米勒(Dorothy Miller),他在1959年創作的作品《12歲的蒙娜麗莎》( Mona Lisa at the Age of 12)後來被紐約現代藝術博物館所收藏。

    在20世紀50年代中期,博特羅開始意識到對可辨識世界中的尺寸感被打亂所具有的;藝術上的潛力。這最初是在他繪製曼陀林的靜物畫時所發現的:他意識到,通過縮小樂器表面光圈的大小,他改變了其整體尺寸感。他賦予了它一個全新的、變形後的不朽性質。不久之後,他開始在其他一些主題中對此進行探討,並且讓此成為他作品的標誌,得到國際上的認可。正如博特羅2016年在《Time Out 上海》的採訪中指出,他不僅是在對女性形象的繪畫中通過擴大的方式來開發尺寸的潛力:

    「有些人認為我畫胖女人。但你仔細看,我做的所有東西都是大的:如果我創作一幅風景、一張靜物、一個水果、一個瓶子、一匹馬、一棵樹,一切都是大的。這跟肥胖沒有任何關係。它與藝術中的某種感官概念有關:我確信繪畫必須是豐富的、感官的、性感的,而我找到了一種通過將形態和體量放大化來表達這種感官性的方法。你看,它不是對肥或瘦的表達;它反映了在藝術中對美的構思之某一種方式。」(博特羅,引自J. Newby,《採訪:费尔南多·博特罗》,Time Out 上海,2016年2月25日)

    《女孩》的主題似乎與古典大師傳統之間的聯繫要比博特羅出身於哥倫比亞背景之間的聯繫相對要少。這個人物身上帶有一種天真無邪的氣息和謙虛的姿態。儘管 - 又或者甚至是因為她被誇張化的體積,讓她看起來顯得脆弱。這種天真感源自博特羅自己的青年時期:他對家鄉麥德林(Medellín )的早年記憶長期以來一直都是藝術家重要的試金石。從《女孩》穿著的簡約連衣裙可以明顯看出,她不是來自20世紀80年代早期的人物,而是來自更早的某個時期,一個非常刻意地透過玫瑰色眼鏡才看到的理想化的時代。她是懷舊與永恆的結合體。帶著這樣的氣質,她達到了博特羅在作品中所追求的普遍性。他說:「我的主題是哥倫比亞,而且一直以來都是哥倫比亞。」

    「我在巴黎和紐約生活了很多年,但我從未有過要畫美國或法國主題的感覺。關鍵是藝術 - 和藝術家 - 必須在他自己的土地上、在他自己的生活中紮根:我的生活在哥倫比亞,我的土地是哥倫比亞。當然,現在,用來表達主題的語言必須具有普遍性:構圖、色彩、平衡等等。從這個意義上說,主題必須具有本地性,但所用的語言必須具有普遍性,才能去感動世界上的任何一個人。」(博特羅,引自同上)

  • Artist Bio

    Fernando Botero

    Colombian • 1932

    Colombian artist Fernando Botero is known for his voluptuous and exaggerated paintings, sculptures and drawings. He studied under Roberto Longhi, a renowned authority on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, obtaining a remarkable art historical knowledge of Western Classicism. This dialogue between an erudite education and religious art for the masses is the key in the development of his aesthetic.

    Botero was also influenced by Mexican muralism, with which he became acquainted while living in Mexico City. The monumental scale of the human forms in the murals gave rise to the voluminous figures for which he is best known. Botero's works make mordant comments on society's shortcomings; they also incorporate classical elements and are imbued with political satire and caricature.

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Property from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection


incised with the artist’s signature and numbered 'Botero, E.A. 2/2' and stamped with the foundry mark on the top of the base
bronze with dark brown patina
106.7 x 61 x 40.6 cm (42 x 24 x 15 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1981, this work is artist’s proof number 2 from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist’s proofs.

HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 

sold for HK$3,750,000

Contact Specialist

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019