Botero as conceptual innovator: best in youth, now in decline

Botero 'Arbol' in BogataEconomist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and the “Marginal Revolution” blog sticks with his position that the quality of work by painter Fernando Botero declined as Botero aged — the typical pattern of a conceptual innovator. That’s a follow-up on my recent blog entry citing the analysis of auction prices by Sebastian Edwards, which showed higher prices for later work.

“From what I’ve seen of the new work, I think it is relatively weak (and I am very anti-torture)…it is being hyped for political reasons but Botero lost his vitality a long time ago, even in the 1980s most of his works are not so great,” writes Cowen.

Cowen’s explanation for the discrepancy: “it is often the case that the best early works are never sold, for Botero they are hanging in the National Museum in Bogota.” (One Botero from the museum’s collection is pictured.)

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