Fernando Botero (1932-2023) was a cherished Colombian artist celebrated for his iconic paintings and sculptures featuring plump human and animal forms. Born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, he was immersed in the influence of Baroque-style colonial churches and the vibrancy of city life. While initially trained to be a matador, Botero’s true passion lay in the world of art. Today, we celebrate the life and work of this extraordinary artist.
At just 16, his illustrations graced the pages of one of Medellin’s prominent newspapers. Following on from education, Botero ventured into set design and newspaper illustration, all the while honing his skills as a painter. In his twenties, Botero embarked on a transformative journey to Europe, where he immersed himself in the works of Renaissance masters. He once remarked, “I studied the art of Giotto and all other Italian masters, fascinated by their sense of volume and monumentality. Of course in modern art everything is exaggerated, so my voluminous figures also became exaggerated.”
Botero’s canvases depict scenes of daily life, from idyllic family picnics to spirited gatherings in early 20th-century ballrooms. Beyond the ordinary, he fearlessly tackled political subjects, immortalising moments like the death of drug lord Pablo Escobar and the emergence of rebel groups.
Entering his thirties, Botero progressed into sculpture, initially working with acrylic resin and sawdust due to the cost of bronze. In 1977, his first exhibition of bronze sculptures, now iconic, graced the Grand Palais in Paris. He seamlessly alternated between painting and sculpting, leaving an enduring legacy in both realms.
We are honoured to feature three of Botero’s majestic sculptures in our hotels in London and New York. At Charlotte Street Hotel, a small yet powerful pooch warmly welcomes visitors, while a towering ten-foot-high feline figure graces the lobby of The Soho Hotel. At Crosby Street Hotel, ‘Crosby the Cat’ proudly resides on the sidewalk, captivating passers-by for photo opportunities.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Botero for his invaluable contributions to the art world and the joy he brings to our hotels. Fernando Botero’s unique approach to form has left an indelible mark on the world of art.