Who he is: Fernando Botero Angulo is a painter and sculptor from Medellin, Colombia, known for his abstract, figurative style often referred to as "Boterismo," which features figures of exaggerated size with fine details. Many of Fernando Botero's works have been donated to the Museum of Antioquia and Plaza Botero, or Botero Square, in Medellin, is dedicated to him and features many of his large sculptures (below) on permanent display.
Fernando Botero's abstract style often concentrates on situational portraiture, with the commonality among all his pieces – paintings, drawings and sculptures – being the "large people" upon which he focuses.
In 1958, Botero won first prize at the Salon de Artistas Colombianos, which brought him to national prominence. His sculptures, drawings and paintings are exhibited around the world with pieces in major museums as well as private offices and homes.
Botero was compelled to give voice through his art to both the drug-related violence in Colombia and the torture of Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. His 50 works about Colombia were donated to the National Museum of Colombia and his nearly 200 Abu Ghraib pieces will not be available for sale, he has stated, but will at some point also be donated to museums. Botero has referred to this work as "painting out the poison." The Abu Ghraib series were exhibited first in Europe and then twice in the United States, in 2007. Since then Fernando's work has focused heavily on family and maternity and recently, still lifes.
Background: Fernando Botero Angulo was born 19 April 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, the second of three children. Fernando's mother, Flora Angulo, worked as a seamstress and his father, David Botero, was a traveling salesman who died when Fernando was four.
After Botero attended a Jesuit school, in 1944 his uncle, who began to play a stronger role in Fernando's life after his father's death, sent him to matador school for two years. Botero's first illustrations were published in El Colombiano's Sunday supplement when he was 16, in 1948. He then attended Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia high school, paying his tuition with the money he received from his illustrations.
Between 1949 and 1952 Botero held his first independent exhibition in Bogota, traveled with a group of artists to Barcelona and then settled in Madrid while he studied at the Academia de San Fernando. Since 1953 Fernando Botero has lived in Europe, mainly in Paris, and lives one month of each year in Medellin.
Fernando Botero married Gloria Zea, later the Colombian Minister of Culture, and had three children. Fernando and Gloria divorced in 1960.