The bronze sculpture, valued at 425,000 euros, was taken from the Galerie Bartoux in Paris
On Saturday, November 4th, the Colombian artist’s sculpture was part of an exhibit in this gallery in Paris when the robbery occurred. Official reports state that the thief walked into the exhibition like any other visitor, grabbed the sculpture, and walked away, without causing a scene, which allowed him to steal the work without anyone noticing until the piece was gone. In fact, the gallery only noticed that it was missing when they closed on Saturday night and the sculpture was nowhere to be found. The Paris police has opened an investigation, and so far the thief has not been caught and the sculpture has not been found.
Botero is one of the most important living artists of Latin America
“Maternity” is a 10kg bronze sculpture of a mother holding her child and breastfeeding him. It is a smaller scale of similar works, like “Motherhood”, which can be found in Oviedo, Spain, in Plaza de la Escandalera, and is also in bronze. As his traditional style, “Maternity” exaggerates the dimensions of the bodies, both the mother’s and the child’s, making them quite voluptuous.
Botero’s importance in the world’s art scene
Fernando Botero is probably the most recognized Colombian artist worldwide. He is also one of the most relevant and important living Latin American artists. His sculptures can be found in public places all over the world, in cities like New York and Medellín, his home town. He has one of the biggest art collections in Colombia, open to the public at the Museo Botero in Bogotá, where some of his work is part of the exhibition, but where visitors can also find works by artists like Monet and Picasso. Early in his career, he titled himself “the most Colombian of Colombian artists”, mainly because of his satirical and humoristic style. His personal style consists in exaggerating in volume as much as possible, so even his still life paintings and his landscapes could be described as “fat”.
Botero described himself early on as "the most Colombian of Colombian artists"
This is not the first time a Botero is stolen
In 2010, a massive art robbery took place in Madrid, in which 28 works of art were stolen, including a Botero and a Picasso. The works were in a warehouse in the industrial zone near the Spanish capital, and the total worth of the robbery was estimated at 5 million euro. The works were in the warehouse in transition between being exhibited in Germany and returning to their corresponding galleries. Back when the robbery was being investigated, gallery owners explained that it could only have been an “inside job”, because the thieves had too much information on when the works were supposed to move. A month after the robbery, the works were found by Spanish police officials and returned to their corresponding galleries.
Latin American Post | Laura Rocha Rueda