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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more THE ARTISTIC JOURNEY – A DISTINGUISHED WEST COAST COLLECTION

Mujer vestida

Mujer vestida
signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'Botero 1/3' (near base)
bronze with black patina
Height: 142 1/2 in. (362 cm.)
Width: 66 in. (167.6 cm.)
Depth: 58 in. (147.3 cm.)
Executed in 2003.
Edition one of three.
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 25 February 2007.
Acquired from the above through private treaty.
J. Cobo Borda, et al., Botero a Venezia: sculture e dipinti, Venice, Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, 2003 (another edition illustrated, pp. 126-127).
M. Vargas Llosa, et al., Fernando Botero, Una celebración, Mexico City, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2012 (another edition illustrated, p. 293).
Special notice
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Lot Essay

Botero first turned to sculpture in 1972, eventually expanding his métier from wood and clay to bronze, the medium in which he has best translated the pillowy volumes of his painting into three dimensions. He has dedicated his summers to sculpture since the early 1980s, long working from a studio in Pietrasanta, a small town on the Tuscan coast that has drawn artist-residents from Michelangelo to Isamu Noguchi and Henry Moore. “It provides the ideal conditions for sculpting,” Botero explains. “Centuries of art are breathing there.” He considers sculpture “a natural extension” of his painting; “for me,” he allows, “sculpture is painting without borders” (in C. Carrillo de Albornoz Fisac, “The Perils of Popularity,” The Art Newspaper no. 120, December 2001, p. 46). At times scaled to monumental proportions, as in Mujer vestida, his sculptures render the serene, statuesque bodies of his paintings in real space, their volumes fully realized in the round. “Sculpture was a natural experience in my evolution because of the obvious sculptural element in my paintings,” Botero acknowledges. “This was a return to simplicity, to growing indifference to details and to a more geometric awareness of shape” (in Botero: Aquarelles, Dessins, Sculptures, exh. cat., Galerie Beyeler, Basel, 1980).
The subjects of Botero’s sculpture are familiar from his work on canvas: men and women, bathers and dancers, animals and myths. “The truth is that in sculpture the themes have always been the same,” he observes. “If you start wandering in the history of art, almost everything has been done on the subject of the woman, seated, lying down, or standing up. It is fascinating to see that one always takes off from an idea that is incredibly specific. This is where the artist has to test his originality and make his mark, show that he really has something to say. This is the problem and the marvel of art…It’s like a bullfight. You can go out with the muleta and play a little, but there comes a moment when you have to confront the bull and stab him with the sword. It’s the hour of truth. Sculpture is the same” (in M.-P. Colle, “Fernando Botero,” Latin American Artists in Their Studios, New York, 1994, p. 49).
A portrait of decorum and gentility, Mujer vestida stands tall atop modest, bow-tied pumps, clutch in one hand and the other stretched forward in gesture of salutation. An elegant dress with stripes and decorative button details clings to her curves, flaring slightly at the knees. Matriarch and madonna, she embodies an olden ideal of femininity, imperturbably stoic and self-possessed as she faces the world. “These are idealizations of a figure,” Botero explains of the voluminous female bodies long ensconced in his work. “What I am concerned with is form—creating smooth, rounded surfaces that emphasize the sensuality of my work…Sculpture enables me to create real volumes. In painting too I create volumes, but they’re unreal. Sculpture is like a caress. You touch the form, you can give the forms the softness, the sensuality you want. It’s magnificent” (in C. Henry, “New York: Botero, Marlborough,” Sculpture 21, no. 3, April 2002, p. 73).
For three decades, Botero has exhibited his sculptures in iconic public spaces around the world, among them the Champs-Élysées in Paris and New York’s Park Avenue. An earlier, and slightly different Mujer vestida (1989) is on display at the Plaza Botero, inaugurated in Medellín in 2001 alongside twenty-two other bronze sculptures, among them an assortment of female figures: Eva, Maternidad, Mujer, Mujer con espejo, Mujer con fruta, Mujer reclinada, Mujer sentada, and Venus dormida. An identical cast of the present Mujer vestida is in the collection of the Tampa Museum of Art.
Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

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