FERNANDO BOTERO (b. 1932) Woman on a Horse, 1993
Lot 18
FERNANDO BOTERO
(b. 1932)
Woman on a Horse, 1993
Sold for US$ 269,000 inc. premium

Post-War & Contemporary Art

12 May 2016, 16:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTOR
FERNANDO BOTERO (b. 1932) Woman on a Horse, 1993 FERNANDO BOTERO (b. 1932) Woman on a Horse, 1993 FERNANDO BOTERO (b. 1932) Woman on a Horse, 1993
FERNANDO BOTERO (b. 1932)
Woman on a Horse, 1993

incised 'Botero 1/6' (on the base)
bronze with dark brown patina

23 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 13 1/2in.
59.7 x 28.6 x 34.3cm

This work is number one from an edition of six, plus two artist's proofs.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Marlborough Gallery, New York.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1993.

    Literature
    J.C. Lambert & B. Villegas, Botero Sculptures, Bogotá, 1998, no. 226 (another from the edition illustrated in color).



    "For my entire life, I've felt as if I had something to say in terms of sculpture. It's a very strong desire...pleasure—that of touching the new reality that you create. Certainly, in a painting you give the illusion of truth, but with sculpture, you can touch its reality. . . If I paint a knife in my pictures, it's imaginary, but if I sculpt it, then the sensation of having it in your hand is real— it's an object from your spirit, it's a sensual experience even in its execution. It brings a special joy to touch the material with your hands." 1

    Inspired by the great masters of art history, from Peter Paul Rubens and Titian to Giotto and Paolo Uccello, Fernando Botero's style is a modern interpretation of the ever-evolving thread of form and draftsmanship with figures characterized by inflated forms and zaftig rotundity.

    Even more pronounced in his sculptures than his paintings, Botero's bronzes are romantic renderings of both everyday scenes and interpretations of common art historical themes. Woman on a Horse, 1993, is a quixotic example of such great allegorical imagery within art history – from Lady Godiva astride her mare and Joan of Arc charging into battle, to the statuary portraits of nobility, such as the Equestrian portrait of Elisabeth de France, wife of Philip IV of Spain by Velazquez.

    At the age of 20, Botero left Medellín and traveled to Spain where he was able to view the works of great European artists, including Velazquez and Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. Exposure to these artists was fundamental to his stylistic advancement, leading to him joining Madrid's San Fernando School of Fine Arts, followed by San Marco Academy in Florence.

    After moving to New York, he continued to develop his trademark style of bulbous and swollen figures and animals. The time he devoted to his artistry and development of his oeuvre is clearly present in Woman on a Horse, particularly when compared to the rounded full-figured representations of female beauty by Rubens. His magnified proportions of figures are not gestures of humor or irony, but rather an endearing nod to the pleasure of the tactility of life and beauty, particularly of the female form. In an indirect homage to the great corporeal architect, Botero reverentially borrows from Rubens' The Toilet of Venus, 1613, posing Woman on a Horse similarly with her head turned across her shoulder gazing longingly behind her. Her expression, however, is one of flushed with coquettish indifference, where both she and Rubens' Venus long to connect with the anonymous viewer.

    In addition to works by Rubens, Velazquez and Goya, Botero's Woman on a Horse also draws from the ever-popular circus imagery of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat. Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Cirque Fernando, Rider on a White Horse), 1887-1888 and Seurat's Le Cirque (The Circus), 1891 are two outstanding works that reveal the variance available to each artist who choose to convey the theme of a woman on a horse. Botero's sculpture in comparison to these works perfectly summarizes his stance on volume, shape and proportion.

    The overall monumentality and corpulent exaggeration of Botero's rotund figures are at the core of his sculptures, where each works seemingly calls out to the viewer pleading with them to caress the cold bronze. According to the artist, "Form is an exaltation of nature. Exaltation of volume. Sensual Exaltation."2 The undying longing to be touched is an effect that is solely Botero's – whereby his figures crave human interaction and comparison in both size and sensation.


    1. F. Botero, quoted in E. J. Sullivan, Botero Sculpture, New York, 1986, p. 13.
    2. J. C Lambert, Botero Sculptures, Bogotá, 1998.
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