Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    Fernando Botero (b. 1932)
    Seated Man, 2000
    Oil on canvas
    15-1/2 x 12-1/4 inches (39.4 x 31.1 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: Botero 00

    The artist;
    Marlborough Gallery, New York, acquired from the above in 2000;
    Private collection, acquired from the above in 2001.

    The Colombian painter and sculptor has taken up an impressive amount of real estate in the annals of 20th-century South American painting; it's fitting, then, that his proudly portly subjects also command the spaces in which they sit, dance, romance, and cavort. While he's often typecast as a maestro of larger bodies, Botero--who is himself almost reedy in comparison to his characters--has always maintained that his true goal is the depiction of "volume," fleshy or otherwise.

    This 2000 canvas hits all the registers that have made Botero that rare combination: a crowd-pleasing household name whose paintings more than hold up to critical scrutiny. Many of Botero's works focus on families, or couples, but the figure of a solitary man at rest is one that the artist has returned to at various times over his career. These gentlemen are pensive, and a little awkward; they are, invariably, clutching cigarettes.

    This Seated Man also provides the opportunity to revel in how the magic of "Boterismo" isn't just about the exaggerated human form. Here, the artist lingers lovingly over small details, like a discrete still life (a bottle, a glass of juice or alcohol) set atop a table whose cloth's drapery is as plumply evocative as any extravagant folds of flesh. The man himself is an odd mix of the comic and the tragic--his hat a bit too tiny, his little blue tie truncated, almost child-sized. Yet he's also refined: notice the way the carefully manicured orbs of his fingernails mirror the metal grommets of the chair upon which he sits, and the fasteners of the red suspenders peeking out from his blazer.

    Many of Botero's subjects are stiffly posed, staring out at the viewer, as if uncomfortably sitting for the artist and waiting for the experience to be over. This Seated Man is more casual, yet not completely relaxed-he looks, anxiously or wistfully, at something out of the frame. He has yet to light his cigarette. We find him, perhaps, at the tail end of a punishing day at the office: unwinding, but not yet unwound.

    Botero is also an exquisite, exuberant colorist, and in this sense Seated Man is pure pleasure. If the man's own workaday garb is a drab, earthy brown, he's saved by the delight of his surroundings. Tonal echoes abound: between the man's drink and his shirt; between the robin's egg blue of his tie and the similar tone of the chair. His apartment itself is almost alive, its rich pink wall and dark green door perfectly in balance (and subtly recalling the flesh and rind of a watermelon, another favorite Botero subject). The humble home of this anonymous man has the thrilling, color-blocking electricity of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. As is Botero's wont, this Seated Man is a joyful contradiction, simultaneously ridiculous and quietly heroic.

    More information about Fernando Botero, also known as Botero, Fernando, .

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; there do not appear to be any major condition issues. Framed Dimensions 24.5 X 21 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2018
    24th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,674

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold on May 24, 2018 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item