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Pas de Deux, 2006
Watercolor on paper
16 1/8 h x 12 w in
41 h x 30.5 w cm

Pas de Deux is a beautiful watercolor on paper drawing of a couple twirling around a dance floor that exemplified Botero’s fascination with whimsical forms. Drawing from art history, Botero synthesized the art historical genres of female body and entertainment with contemporary elements and themes from contemporary Latin American life, such as dance performances. The blond dancer in a yellow tutu lifts her leg in a twirl, as the male partner behind her places hands on her waist. The robust figures, with amusing proportions of small facial features and hand, highlight Botero’s emphasis on volume and sensuality of form.

Botero renders the dancing couple in his signature voluptuous technique of ‘Boterismo.’ The exaggerated figures and objects are sites of experimentation, as they allow Botero to apply more color and delicate shading with a sensuality and profusion of form. Like many of Botero’s works on paper, this piece doesn’t contain a finished background, but rather several outlines and shadows to create dimension, focusing the viewer on the figures. Botero masterfully creates a composition full of motion, movement, and excitement with exuberant colors and careful forms of human positions, a method also seen in his other dancing works, Dancing Couple (A Party) and Ballerini.

Botero’s works on paper have grown in demand over the years. The bodies in the drawings retain their robust forms with all the gracefulness of Botero’s paintings, but are smaller and more approachable in his drawings. These fleshy yet innocent figures are rendered with skills of a master artist.