This photo released by Bonhams
auction house shows
a 1957 painting by Congo the chimpanzee.
Brightly colored paintings by Congo the chimpanzee are going on sale at
a prestigious London auction house alongside works by Andy Warhol and
The collection of three tempera
on paper paintings -- described as resembling abstract
artworks -- are expected to fetch between $1,130 and $1,500 next month at
Congo, born in 1954, produced some 400 drawings and paintings between
the ages of 2 and 4.
He 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.
Bonhams said Wednesday it believed the auction would break new ground.
"I would sincerely doubt that chimpanzee art has ever been auctioned
before," said Bonhams' director of modern and contemporary art, Howard
Rutkowski. "I don't think anybody else has been crazy enough to do this."
In 1957, animal behaviorist Desmond Morris organized an exhibition of
chimpanzee art, including works by Congo, at London's Institute of
Critics reacted with a mix of scorn and skepticism, but Picasso
reportedly owned a painting by Congo, Bonham's said.
It wasn't immediately clear if Congo was still alive, a Bonhams