Angel Botello was born in the small town of Cangas do Morrazo in Galicia, in the northwestern region of Spain. Botello was one of six children (four girls and two boys) of Angel Botello y Suárez, a businessman in the fish canning industry and Bonis Barros y del Amo. Botello’s father died in 1918 after contracting the Spanish influenza. In the 1920s and, after the bankruptcy of the family business, his mother and siblings moved to Bordeaux, France, and lived there until 1935. While in France, Botello’s mother wanted Angel to become a farmer but he wanted to be an architect. In France, architecture is considered a fine art rather than a science and students must take art courses. Botello and his younger brother Manuel studied during four years at the École des Beaux-Arts, from which they graduated with honors and where they excelled in drawing, painting and modeling.
In 1935 Botello returned to Spain where he applied and was accepted with a scholarship at the School of Art of the San Fernando Academy in Madrid. The few paintings that remain of the young Botello’s work in France and Spain reflect an immediate break from his strictly academic training to the impressionist and post-impressionist concepts and techniques that shaped his development.
The Spanish Civil War started in 1936, which made him leave his studies and join the Republican Army as a cartographer. He fought in the Spanish Civil War together with his brother Manuel, who died in the war field. In 1939, the Spanish Civil War ended with a victory for General Francisco Franco which made it impossible to stay in Spain, Botello eventually returned to France to meet with his family who were in a refugee camp.
The family decided to leave Europe and move to the Dominican Republic where he was warmly received. The community of Dominican artists included him as one of their own and many of the paintings created at this time were presented at the “Latin American Art Exposition” at the Riverside Museum in 1940.
During that year, the Botello family traveled to Cuba, where they stayed for eight months. Upon their return to Santo Domingo, his paintings were noted by the Peruvian ambassador there who invited Botello to show them in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1944. After his arriving to Haiti, Botello met Christiane Auguste, who became his wife and artistic manager. After his marriage, Botello changed his artistic plans to move to Mexico to meet with the greatest Mexican artist Diego Rivera and stayed in Haiti. Botello became increasingly recognized and critically acclaimed. His Haitian landscapes and figure studies are considered to be some of his best works. In Haiti, Botello developed his artistic career of woodworking.
For ten years, the Botello family lived in Haiti until 1953 when they moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they would reside permanently. By this time, he already had gained international recognition in the world of plastic arts.
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