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Autorretrato a los dieciocho meses

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Rosy-cheeked and charming, Fernando Boteros Autorretrato a dieciocho meses is an excellent example of the artists signature style. Inviting, yet enigmatic, the work presents the artists self-fashioning at a crucial moment in his career. Drawing on a variety of influences, he reclaims the techniques of his predecessors and contemporaries to present a work that offers a complex look at his identity.  Although artists in the Western canon have occasionally depicted themselves as children, Boteros Autorretrato a dieciocho meses borrows from this tradition, and then departs from it. Like Albrecht Dürer, who began to gain notoriety as a skilled draughtsman around age 14, Boteros drawings began to appear in Medellíns newspapers in his early teens. In a self-portrait from 1484 (fig. 1), Dürer depicts his thirteen year old self facing outward across the page, keenly observing and gesturing towards something outside our reach. This innovative compositional structure offers a view into the psyche of the subject and activates the space beyond the page. Botero likewise confronts the viewer at an angle, gazing pointedly yet placidly out beyond us and sending the composition out into three dimensional space. However, where Dürer carefully captures his youthful appearance and character in lifelike detail, Botero uses specific iconography and his distinctive representational style to meticulously construct his identity as an artist.\nHere Botero employs his signature technique of inflation, often used to satirize or lend levity to a composition, to instead dignify and monumentalize the figure. He renders his youthful face in sweet and skillful detail, complete with chubby cheeks and carefully balanced features. Boteros use of active brushstrokes and a softly clashing color palette of marigold, taupe and sage creates a subtle but constant tension and betrays the influence of abstract expressionism on his work of this period. The figure holds the palette and paintbrush, identifying himself as an artist not only by trade but by birth. In a final touch of self-fashioning, he clothes himself in a charming matching coat and cap, alluding to his childhood in Medellín and asserting his identity as a Colombian in a moment when he felt most like an outsider. In this way he uses the masters tools, old and contemporary, to see and create himself in a new way, uniquely his own.\nSigned and dated 66 lower right; also signed, titled and dated on reverse


Oil on canvas


Fernando Botero


The paint layer shows no varnish or retouching. There is a thin arc shaped line of cracking near the upper left corner, and another inch long line of cracks down the left edge. There are separation cracks over some pentimenti in the floor on the left and right. There is no reason to restore these cracks. Although the work might clean slightly, it is not necessarily recommended. The painting is in beautiful condition. (This condition report has been provided courtesy of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.) In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


49 by 44 in.


Munich, Galerie Buchholz, Botero, March, 1970, no. 40, p. 92, illustrated 


Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, New York Acquired from the above


Signed and dated 66 lower right; also signed, titled and dated on reverse


Property from the Estate of Leslie S. Turchin

*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.

*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.