http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050620/lf_afp/britainartauctionChimp paintings fetch 26,000 dollars at auction
LONDON (AFP) - Three paintings by a chimpanzee named Congo were sold at auction in London to an American buyer for a total of 14,400 pounds (26,250 dollars, 21,610 euros), many times the estimated price.
Congo's works went under the hammer in a sale that included works by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French cubist Fernand Leger and US pop artist Andy Warhol.
Presale estimates had put their price at between 600 and 800 pounds.
The buyer, Howard Hong, said he was a great fan of modern and contemporary painting.
Nicknamed "the Cezanne of the ape world" Congo turned out more than 400 paintings and drawings under the encouragement of anthropologist Desmond Morris.
Morris championed the theory that chimps had artistic sensibilities and put on a show of Congo's works in the 1950s.
Picasso is said to have had a Congo painting in his studio, in a style described as belonging to "the abstract expressionist school".
"I doubt whether any work by a chimpanzee has ever been auctioned before," Howard Ruthkowski, modern and contemporary art specialist at auctioneer Bonhams, said before the sale.