Fernando Botero (B. 1932) Gatta 2008

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Lot 26*
Fernando Botero
(B. 1932)
Gatta
2008

Sold for £ 312,750 (US$ 430,173) inc. premium
PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT THE FONDATION BERNARD ET CAROLINE DE WATTEVILLE
Fernando Botero (B. 1932)
Gatta
2008

incised with the artist's signature, numbered 4/6 and stamped with the Fonderia Artistica Versiliese Italy mark
bronze

22.5 by 65 by 28.4 cm
8 7/8 by 25 9/16 by 11 3/16 in.

This work was executed in 2008, and is from an edition of six numbered versions.


Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Gary Nader Fine Art, Miami
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2008

    Literature
    Gary Nader Editions, Fernando Botero. The Grand Show. Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture, Miami 2010, n.p., illustrated in colour



    Renowned for his voluptuous and exaggerated paintings, sculptures and drawings, Fernando Botero is arguably one of the most important Colombian modern artists and certainly the most recognisable. Not unlike Picasso, whose Cubist breakthrough came after experimenting with the construction of a guitar, Botero had his artistic revolution with a mandolin. In 1956, while painting an image of a mandolin resting on a table, Botero placed a disproportionately small hole in the body of the instrument, thus transforming it into an object of exaggerated mass and monumentality; a lifelong fascination with the exploration of volume was born. Well known for subjects ranging from the Old Masters to circus scenes, bullfights, domestic life and political satire, the present work is an inimitable take on one of art history's most universal icons—the cat.

    Cats feature in much of Botero's work, but especially in his monumental sculptures which are well-loved features in parks and city centres around the world. Whilst in his paintings, cats often accompany a dominant matriarch or a sensual nude and symbolize femininity and domesticity, they are often the sole protagonist in sculpture. One of Botero's most famous felines resides at the end of Barcelona's Rambla del Raval where the colossal endearing statue has become an integral part of the neighbourhood and a well-cherished tourist attraction. Other works by the artist are presently held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museo Botero in Bogotá which is dedicated to the artist and his oeuvre. In 1958 and 1992 Botero participated in the Venice Biennale and represented Colombia in the 5th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. He has had major retrospectives at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (1979); Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo (1981); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1987); Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao (2012); and many others.

    Revered and admired for centuries of human history, the cat has inseparably woven its way into the canon of art history without ever losing any of its charm or appeal. From ancient Egyptian tomb adornments and centuries of Chinese and Japanese artistic practice all the way to the exotic markets of 19th century orientalist paintings and French impressionist living rooms the cat has been and still is a firm feature in many of the worlds most revered artistic masterpieces. Today, in the age of the internet and social media, no animal captivates audiences quite like the humble house cat and the subject is more accessible, one might even say more popular than ever.

    Fernando Botero would not have been ignorant to the wide and varied depiction of felines in art throughout the ages. Having studied under Roberto Longhi, a renowned authority on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, Botero obtained a remarkable art historical knowledge of Western Classicism. The canon of art history, especially the European one became a rich source of inspiration whilst studying Italy's Renaissance frescoes, Spain's Golden Age masters and France's turn-of-the-century School of Paris on his travels in the 1950's. Deeply influenced by these masterworks, Botero embarked on a quest to critically re-interpret iconic paintings, to pay homage to the great artists of the past and finding a gateway to true originality whilst doing so.

    Gatta from 2008 is a particularly beautiful example of Botero's many reinterpretations of this perennial theme. Whilst it incorporates elements of the elegant goddesses and playful street pranksters that preceded it, Botero's Gatta is extremely topical and modern for it can be best described with one of the most universally used adjectives in 21st century popular culture- it is quintessentially 'cute'. Executed in Botero's distinctively rotund signature style, the curvaceous head, body, limbs and tail of the reclining feline give it a monumental quality. Sphinx like she resides elegantly on her plinth, head lowered attentively, ears pricked forwards, keenly aware of her surroundings. The swift flash of her tongue gives Gatta a more playful, accessible quality than its divine Egyptian forebears and captures its distinctive character. Humorous elements such as this are a common and important feature within Botero's formally refined plastic oeuvre. He breaks with the established tradition of sculpture, bronze traditionally being used to eternalize the classically heroic and brave, and instead memorializes the humble and happy house cat. Like Manet with his Olympia, Botero shifts the classical muse, the deity of centuries past into the realm of the common and trivial, the realm of day-to-day life which makes it so much more endearing.

    The present work is sold to benefit the Fondation Bernard et Caroline de Watteville to support cultural and humanitarian actions in Switzerland and abroad.
Contacts
Fernando Botero (B. 1932) Gatta 2008
Fernando Botero (B. 1932) Gatta 2008
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