Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s inflated forms and colourful palette explode on canvas at the Custot Gallery Dubai from November 12 to February 10, as the artist’s private collection of paintings, drawings and watercolours, created between 1980 and 2018, go on view in the exhibition Fernando Botero: A Still Life Retrospective (oil paintings available for $400,000-$1.1m; watercolours and drawings, $40,000-$90,000).
The exhibition includes 30 still life works that are a tribute to Old Master paintings (Botero studied the Masters as a student in Europe in the 1950s) and feature tables set with fruit, musical instruments, flower arrangements and plein-air picnics. This sequence began with Still Life with Mandolin (1956) – his first still life and a piece that he considers important in his creative evolution. “It has generous outlines but the details are much smaller, which makes the forms stronger and more sensual,” he says.
In Picnic (2002), an oil on canvas depicting a sylvan scene, and Still Life with Violin (2000), the artist moves away from capturing the spirit of the Old Masters and portrays “the same objects and fruits” in his own style. “For me, art is to do the same thing, but in a different way,” he says.
The vibrant watercolours and drawings in the collection also provide snapshots of everyday objects and include Still Life with Fruits and Coffee Pot, a chalice and watercolour on paper from 2002. “I hope the public will feel the sensuality of the forms, the balance of the compositions, and the harmony of the colours in these paintings,” says Botero.