Art Aficionado

Gary Nader has the world’s largest collection of Boteros, but it doesn’t stop there.

By Hunter Braithwaite

art-aficionado-2Some Boteros are bigger than others. All are big — the Colombian modern master is known the world over for his globular treatment of figure and landscape alike — but the monumental series of bronzes, which is currently on display outside of Wynwood’s Gary Nader Art Centre, stand over ten feet tall. They’re the perfect size for the 55,000-square-foot gallery, the largest in the country. The Dominican dealer moved to Miami in 1985, and became a leading merchant of Latin American art, first in Coral Gables, and for the last seven years, in Wynwood.

art-aficionado-3More Boteros wait inside. Unique works on paper and paintings line the walls, and a group of Botero sculptures on the floor face you like well-fed terra-cotta soldiers. As it happens, Nader is the largest dealer of Botero in the world, but he also has work from around 150 other artists from across the globe.

Moving through the warehouse-sized space, one sees icons of Latin American modernism. Wifredo Lam, arguably the most influential Cuban painter of the twentieth century, is represented by a 1945 oil Hermes Trismegiste. In his iconic style, which blended the composition of European cubism and surrealism with Afro-Cuban roots, Lam represents the mythological titular character, who himself is a blend of gods from Greek and Egyptian heritage.

Elsewhere are canonical works by the Chilean painter Roberto Matta. Like Lam, Matta painted surrealism with a South American twist. There are also fine examples of twentieth-century Latin American art by artists such as Carlos Cruz-Diaz and Edgar Negret.

art-aficionado-4Europe gets fair representation as well. Tucked into a side gallery is Pablo Picasso’s Buste d’homme écrivant (Autoportrait). Painted in 1971, two years before the artist’s death at 91, the self-portrait is rendered in a classical palette of grays. Other works of European provenance include one of Damien Hirst’s dot paintings, an Albert Oehlen, and several by the acclaimed German artist Martin Kippenberger.

art-aficionado-5Then, there are those seminal artists from the United States. There is a representative work on copper by Robert Rauschenberg, the first American artist to win the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale. One simply cannot miss Roy Lichtenstein’s 1984 sculpture, prominently displayed near the front desk. The aluminum sculpture depicts three brush strokes — red, blue, and flesh tone — which soar to the ceiling. Although it barely fits, it’s a perfect fit for the gallery’s size and ambitions.

Nader is now planning something even bigger — a museum dedicated to Latin American art, with many of the pieces bequeathed by the gallerist himself.

Gary Nader Fine Art is located at 62 N.E. 27th St., Miami. www.garynader.com. (305) 576-0256.

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