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Artist - Fernando Botero
Born - 1932
Origin - Colombia
Year Built - 1977
About the Artist: Fernando Botero grew up in Medellin, Colombia, but moved to the capital city of Bogota in 1951. In 1952, he decided to pursue a formal art education at the Academia San Fernando in Madrid, Spain. Botero then spent much of the next two years in Paris and Florence, Italy. He studied art history with Roberto Longhi at the University of Florence for a year before returning to Colombia in 1955. Botero's career began to receive some international recognition in the late 1950s, leading the artist to move to New York in 1960. In 1970, he had his first traveling retrospective in Europe. Botero moved to Paris in 1973.
A painter for much of his career, Botero turned to sculpture in 1976, painting little thereafter. In Man with Cane, 1977, and Woman with Umbrella, 1977, Botero simplifies the forms to spherical masses and restricts the descriptive detail to a minimum. The mildly erotic character and reductive nature of Botero's voluptuous forms arise from his process, as Pierre Restany has noted: "The creative process was of a sensual order, but the tangible result was the illustration of a mental itinerary directed toward simplicity. Formal draft, economy of means-these were henceforth to be his principles." The primary forms of both Man with Cane and Woman with Umbrella possess a tactile appeal, the tangible result of Botero's desire for "sensuality through forms."
Although Man and Woman were produced as independent works, the pieces are considered a couple. The works may be related to Botero's painting Promenade, 1978 (location unknown), in which a Latin American couple strolls down a forested walk. The immense tree trunks and airless environment of the painting impart a fantastical quality. Botero prizes this aspect of his work: "I like to keep my subject matter, that is Latin America, at a distance so that I can transform and dream about it with greater freedom."