FERNANDO BOTERO (COLOMBIA, B.1932)
FERNANDO BOTERO (COLOMBIA, B.1932)

The Card Players

Details
FERNANDO BOTERO (COLOMBIA, B.1932)
The Card Players
signed and dated 'Botero 11' (lower right)
oil on canvas
71 x 92 cm. (28 x 36 ¼ in.)
Painted in 2011
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.

Brought to you by

Kimmy Lau
Kimmy Lau

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Lot Essay

With an international career spanning six decades, Fernando Botero is one of the most distinguished and sought-after artists of his generation. Today Botero is recognized throughout the world for his singular style that consistently blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction with its ubiquitous rotund figures that reflect his keen and witty approach to the history of art and visual representation.

In Card Players, Botero depicts what appears to be a spirited game of strip poker. Pulling back the curtain on the left, Botero reveals a lively performance unfolding between a semi-dressed woman and two men, at least one of whom appears to be cheating with a card tucked underneath his leg. With their plump faces and corpulent figures, there is no mistaking these individuals for anyone other than Botero men and woman.

While a decidedly “Boterian” scene, the inspiration for the specific subject undoubtedly came from art historical precedents. A dedicated student of western art’s canon, Botero has frequently reimagined the work of Renaissance, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters. Indeed, Botero’s oeuvre is rife with references to or even reinterpretations of paintings by artists as diverse as Jan van Eyck and Gustave Corbet, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Pierre Bonnard. In the present work, Botero alludes to the famous series of card players by the French Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne, who was in turn evoking the work of the earlier Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio. By engaging with these formidable artistic forbearers, Botero inserts himself into their illustrious lineage while at the same time forging his own path to true originality. As he once noted, “You can take the same subject and create a totally different painting. That’s where real originality lies, in taking something that’s already been done by someone and doing it differently.” (Fernando Botero, quoted in W. Spies, “’I’m the most Colombian of Colombian artists’: A Conversation with Fernando Botero,” Fernando Botero: Paintings and Drawings, Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1992, p. 155-56.)

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