Friday, April 8, 2011

Botero and the Art of Fat

Fernando Botero (1932 - ) likes to paint fat people such as these:

He seems to make a good living at it through sales of his paintings and reproductions -- good enough that he can flit from Paris to his native Colombia once a year and indulge himself by painting a large number of canvasses that proclaim his political views. For more details, a lengthy Wikipedia entry on him is here.

What interests me is that the man has succeeded commercially by painting what are fundamentally cartoons. And apparently he gets enough Art Establishment respect to be featured in art museum and university gallery exhibits.

The art career pole strikes me as being greasier than most, so I'm almost never completely critical when an artist gains some fame and even fortune in his own lifetime. Nevertheless, the rewards system in the Modern era usually favors artists who I consider undeserving. Botero is one of those. Based on his output, he really should have been a Postmodern magazine illustrator creating whimsical little drawings of fatties to decorate articles.


Siolo Thompson said...

Ouch! Brutal review. I have to agree with you on this one though. I've never understood Botero's fame and fortune. Don't malign us illustrators too much though, some of the best draftsman in the art world stand in our ranks.

Donald Pittenger said...

Siolo -- Gee, I didn't think I was that harsh; perhaps a holdover from graduate school days when the knives came out during crits of papers and research reports.

As for illustration, I love much of the pre-1970 stuff but not so much of what has gone on since. I haven't sorted out how much this is due to artists and how much to art directors. But it strikes me as being in synch with the Po-Mo approach I find all too often in galleries and museums.