12 November 2018 – 10 February 2019

Photos Courtesy of Custot Gallery Dubai and Fernando Botero


Flowers, 2018, oil on canvas

Custot Gallery Dubai is pleased to present a major exhibition of still life paintings, drawings and watercolors by the internationally renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. These works, which come from the artist’s own collection and are being exhibited for the first time, were created between 1980 and 2018. Throughout thirty still life works representing flowers, fruit, objects, musical instruments and fantastic scenes of everyday moments, the artist pays tribute to the Old Master paintings he studied as a young student in Europe during the 1950s. In 1956, Botero painted Still life with mandolin, the very incarnation of the artist’s interest in the age-old tradition of still life painting. The play of proportions and the distortion of volumes in this work marks a turning point in his career. Fernando Botero (born in 1932 in Medellín, Colombia) is a figurative artist and painter. His signature style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale is today instantly recognizable. His first retrospective took place in 1970 in Germany at museums in Baden, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg. His work is held in important museum collections throughout the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland and Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

Still life, 2002, oil on canvas

A Conversation Between Stéphane Custot and Fernando Botero

Q: Firstly, starting from the beginning, how did you become an artist?

I started painting when I was very young. I did my first watercolors of still life when I was 15. Then I moved to oils and interpretations of the human figure. At 19, I got to do my first one-man show in Bogotá, the capital of my home country Colombia.

Picnic, 2002, oil on canvas

Q: What would you say are your inspirations? Can you describe your style?

I would describe it as figurative, because it is not abstract. I like to think it’s a personal style, a different approach. People always recognize a Botero.

Q: Still life with mandolin (1956) is said to be your first still life work. Can you tell us about this painting? How did it mark a turning point in your career?

Still life with mandolin was important in my evolution. I did it with generous outlines, but the details were done much smaller. Then the forms became stronger and more sensual.

Oranges, 2004, oil on canvas

Q: The still life is an important theme in your oeuvre. Why have you decided to exhibit these works from your private collection for the first time?

These still lifes are being shown for the first time as I had kept them in my personal collection, because they are special to me. The reason is that artists today are no longer interested in this theme. It is a pity because the genre has such a great tradition of masterpieces. These works are not painted in the style of the great masters. They are in my own style using the same objects and fruits that were used by the masters. Art is to do the same thing but in a different way.

Q: What are your expectations for the exhibition? How do you imagine the public will receive your work in Dubai and the region?

I hope that the public will feel the sensuality of the forms in these paintings, the balance of the compositions, and the harmony of the colors.


About Custot Gallery Dubai

Custot Gallery Dubai, founded by Stéphane Custot, opened in March 2016 in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, the city’s hub for arts. The gallery showcases modern and contemporary artists such as Josef Albers, Chu Teh-Chun, Ian Davenport, Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas de Staël, Barry Flanagan, Peter Halley, Robert Indiana, Jedd Novatt, Marc Quinn, Pablo Reinoso, James Rosenquist, Pierre Soulages, Franck Stella ans Bernar Venet. Custot Gallery Dubai represents the European and American artists Fernando Botero, Nick Brandt, Ian Davenport, Richard Höglund, Umberto Mariani, Jedd Novatt, Marc Quinn, Pablo Reinoso, Sophia Vari, Bernar Venet, Fabienne Verdier, Aaron Young and the Estates of Barry Flanagan and Robert Indiana. For more information, please visit www.custotgallerydubai.ae.

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