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Renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero dead at 91

UPI
World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero died Friday at 91. He had struggled with pneumonia. Pictured is one of his most famous paintings -- Dancing in Colombia (1980). It's on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image via The Met

Sept. 15 (UPI) -- World-famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero died Friday at 91. His paintings of full-figured members of society's elites established his unique style beginning in the 1950s.

Botero had been struggling with pneumonia.

"Botero's satire is not heavyhanded, though it is blatant, because his paintings work finally like dreams rather than like cartoons," Peter Schjeldahl once wrote. "There is something about his silly, fleshy monsters that is intimate and familiar, a faintly scary reminder of the self In one of its primitive guises."

His more famous paintings include The Presidential Family (1967), currently in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and Dancing in Colombia (1980), on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Born in Medellin in 1932, Botero was self-taught. He described his work in a 2019 interview with El Pais.

"Art should produce pleasure, a certain tendency towards a positive feeling," Botero said. "But I have painted dramatic things. I have always looked for coherence, aesthetics, but I have painted violence, torture, the passion of Christ ... There is a different pleasure in dramatic painting. The greatest joy of painting, beauty, does not put the dramatic and the pleasant at odds."

Botero's work spanned 70 years and included not just paintings but sculptures and watercolors.