Fernando Botero - 20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Thursday, July 2, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Botero's Sculptures

    Executed in 1983, Woman with Serpent is a beautiful example of Fernando Botero's early sculptural output. Having established his unique pictorial idiom in painting, Botero in the early 1960s began to explore the potential of working in three dimensions to push his aesthetic further.  It was, however, truly in the 1970s that he dedicated himself to this medium. 

    "Sculptures permit me to create real volume... One can touch the forms, one can give them smoothness, the sensuality that one wants."
    – Fernando Botero

    Botero became so fascinated with working in sculpture that between 1976 and 1977 he essentially abandoned painting, focusing solely on the plastic arts. In the early 1980s, this new-found enthusiasm for sculpture saw him acquire two buildings in Pietrasanta, Tuscany, positioning him near the marble quarries used by Michelangelo, and a number of the world’s best bronze foundries, which had sprung up around the quarry.

    It is in the foundries of Pietrasanta that artists as diverse as Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Jeff Koons have had their works cast. Botero still today divides his time between his main homes in Paris and Pietrasanta, devoting himself to sculpture while in the latter. 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 when 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.

    Working in that same classical sculptural tradition as his predecessors, Botero initially creates a clay maquette that is then scaled up in plaster, followed by the creation of a cast used to ultimately render his model in bronze. Botero’s attention to detail can be perceived in Woman with Serpent and its fellow sculptures in the deep resonance of its patina, one which accentuates the sensuality of the curves of his figure. Granted an emphatic physicality, the figure bursts with life and the raw power of existence. 
    • Provenance

      Quintana's Fine Art, New York
      Galería de Arte Nader, Santo Domingo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      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.

      View More Works

Property from an Important Private Collection, California


Woman with Serpent

incised with the artist’s signature and number “Botero 8/9” and stamped with the Fonderia M Italy foundry mark on the figure’s proper right upper arm
7 1/2 x 11 x 18 1/4 in. (19.1 x 27.9 x 46.4 cm)
Executed in 1983, this work is number 8 from an edition of 9 plus 2 artist's proofs.

Full Cataloguing

$200,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 2 July 2020