Monday, June 20, 2005

Bidders go ape for chimpanzee art

Congo painted the pictures at the age of three, that's 24 in chimp years, not so impressive is it?
Three works by Congo were auctioned together, but who could tell them apart?

Three abstract paintings by a chimpanzee named Congo have been sold for £12,000 - after being given a price tag of just £800.

The animal art, painted when the chimp was three, went under the hammer on Tuesday at auction house Bonhams in central London.

Congo's work was included in a 1957 chimp art exhibition curated by animal behaviourist Desmond Morris.

The three works were bought by US modern art enthusiast Howard Hong.

Bonhams said there had been a "fantastic" amount of interest in the paintings, which had been sold as one lot.

The chimp art was part of an exhibition at London's ICA put on by animal expert and painter Morris.

Morris, author of The Naked Ape, had attempted to understand "chimpanzees' ability to create order and symmetry as well as to explore, at a more primeval level, the impetus behind our own desires for artistic creativity," auction house Bonhams said.

His encouragement led to Congo producing about 400 drawings and paintings in the late 1950s which were received by the art world with a mixture of scorn and scepticism.

Story here.

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