For many guests visiting Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui, being surrounded by eye-catching Fernando Botero sculptures is a highlight of their resort stay.
A total of nine Botero sculptures can be found at prominent places throughout the hotel, such as Woman With a Cigarette, a work of art that welcomes guests in the lobby, and embodies pleasure and beauty. Botero, a Colombian artist whom some consider to be one of the most well-known living artists, also has work on display in some of the world’s most visited spaces, including Park Avenue in New York and on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
According to Grand Wailea’s Art Curator Michael Gilbert, the timeless, humorous (and sometimes political) sculptures often stop visitors in their tracks for admiration and photographs.
“I’ve never seen anyone ever just walk by one of the Fernando Boteros,” Gilbert said. “They just don’t do it.”
Earlier this year, it was determined that the statues’ patinas—the coloring that helps give a sculpture its highlights, shadows and visual shape—needed a restoration.
Ronnie Frostad of Frostad Atelier, Inc., a high-quality bronze casting foundry in Sacramento, California, was brought in to restore the sculptures on-site. The project took approximately three months and involved a detailed process that involved using propane heat and hand-scrubbing that allowed Frostad to restore each statue to Botero’s original artistic state.
According to her, working the collection was a milestone moment in her career.
“I was in awe of the magnitude—it is a jewel of a collection,” she said. “I’m so incredibly honored to be a part of this historical restoration.”
For a peek inside the process and more on how the sculptures ended up at the resort, check out the video below.