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SERGE PICARD / AGENCE VU FOR TIME

SAD CLOWN: Botero applies his jolly style to serious subjects too, including Colombia's drug cartels and the abuse at Abu Ghraib

If you lived in New York City's Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, you might have encountered a tall, dapper Colombian among the hordes of aspiring artists who congregated there. Charming, garrulous and quick to make friends, he might have invited you to his tiny apartment and offered you one of his paintings for a few hundred dollars. He might even have confided that he desperately needed the money to pay the rent. If you stumped up the cash and took the painting home, you're one lucky investor. Works by Fernando Botero from that period are worth about $500,000 these days....

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