legendary visit

Acclaimed River Oaks gallery showcases iconic Latin American artist in exquisite exhibition

Acclaimed River Oaks gallery showcases iconic Latin American artist

Botero Family on a Couch
"Family on a Couch" by Botero. Image courtesy of Art of the World Gallery

Art aficionados — especially those familiar with Latin American art — no doubt know the name Fernando Botero. Indeed, the iconic Colombian artist is so prolific and innovative, an entire style boasts his name: “Boterismo.”

The 90-year-old Botero won fans worldwide by his colorful images of people and figures in large, exaggerated volume and shape — often depicting political satire/criticism or humor.

Now, Houstonians can enjoy an intimate exhibition at an elegant, acclaimed Inner Loop space. Posh River Oaks destination Art of the World Gallery (2201 Westheimer Rd.) has unveiled “Celebrating 90 Years of Botero.” The showcase, which runs through May 30, features a prominent selection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures, many of them available for the first time to savvy art collectors.

The show consists of distinctive compositions from different periods, themes, and varied in dimensions; scales from small to monumental in both wall art and sculptural pieces, according to a press release.

Spanning works among his storied career, attention is placed on Botero’s career, especially the 1960s, when the emerging artist refined his now-trademark style that represented his influence from the French impressionist movement.

A standout in the show is the only polyptych ever made — and the largest oil painting — Botero created during his golden era in the 1990s. “La Calle - The Street” is a traditional streetscape in Latin America that has generated demand as high as $ 14 million dollars at events such as the 2021 Art Miami Fair. (Perhaps it’s time for a Texas-sized offer by an eager Houstonian?)

Other must-see items include never-seen-before paintings created during the pandemic era (specifically 2019 – 2021) and sculptures ranging from small to monumental sizes. One of Botero’s works, Man on a Horse, recently fetched an auction sales record of $4.32 million at Christie's New York in March.

Initially, Botero’s hometown of Medellín informed and influenced his works, later, he drew inspiration from Colombia and eventually, Latin America. “As I am very Latin American in my way of being, and obviously as I have a great interest in all that is ours, well, the topics are Latin American,” Botero noted in a statement. “There has also been a passion in my life for pre-Columbian art that you can see in my work: there you feel that interest in Peruvian, Colombian, Mexican art, etc. A European could not do what I do, and I could not do what Europeans do; you are marked by the years you live in your country…”

Winning the top honors at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1958, Botero quickly rose to national prominence in Colombia and eventually moved to Paris in 1973, where he would go on to global acclaim and exhibitions by the 1990s. In 2012, Botero received the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

For more information on the show, or to schedule a private appointment, email info@artoftheworldgallery.com or visit Art of World online