FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW ART, BUT KNOW WHAT THEY LIKE
Going up for auction soon in England: Chimpanzee art.
See link with arthere.
The artist is a chimpanzee named Congo, who made the painting in 1957, when he was about 4. The reporter whose story was released by AP and published at the ABC News website could not confirm whether Congo was still alive, although apparently the chimp stopped painting after about two years.
His work is expected to fetch somewhere between $1,130 and $1,500 at the June 30 auction to be held at Bonhams in London.
The art must be good; apparently, Pablo Picasso owned one of Congo's paintings. I will admit that the painting shown at the ABC News website impressed me, but what do I know about art?
"I would sincerely doubt that chimpanzee art has ever been auctioned
before," said the Bonhams director of modern and contemporary
art, Howard Rutkowski. "I don't think anybody else has been crazy
enough to do this. I'm sure other auction houses think this is
completely mad." Apparently Desmond Morris -- who wrote one of my favorite books, Manwatching, which describes human behaviors from an animal behaviorist's point of view, and may best be known for The Naked Ape, where he first explored human behavior from a zoologist's point of view -- put on a display of chimpanzee art back in the 1950s. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal that one of Morris's books is called The Story of Congo, so we aren't talking about just some guy who bought a chimp at the local yard sale.
According to th ABC News story I linked to above:
Congo quickly learned how to handle a brush and pencils, instead of knocking them over or trying to eat them. He painted within the boundaries of the sheet of paper, never allowing the paint to spill over the edge, and appeared to know when he had finished a painting by refusing to pick up his brush or pencil over the work.
And, like I say, I actually like the chimp's art. Maybe I'll buy one and hang it next to the cat hotel painting we bought in Miami several years ago.