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Congo (Ape)
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Animal
    (1954-1964)
    Resided at London Zoo
    Created over 400 paintings and drawings
    Became famous when his work was displayed at an exhibit of ape art organized by Desmond Morris (1957)
    Recurring guest on the British TV show ‘Zootime’
    He inevitably earned nicknames such as ‘the Cezanne of the art world.’
    Although the best known ape artist, he was not the first one.
    It is unclear as to how much he was under human control when painting.
    He never tried to draw in a representational manner.
    Most art critics scorned his work.
    He was temperamental and had tantrums if interrupted while painting.
    He completely lost interest in a painting once it was done.
    Salvador Dali after seeing his work said, ‘The hand of the chimpanzee is quasi-human!’
    He was part of a study by Desmond Morris to explore the biological origin of creativity.
    Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro were admirers.
    His paintings are symmetrical and stay within the paper's borders.
    Morris claimed Congo was not being rewarded and painted simply because he loved to.
    His bold style has been compared to abstract expressionism.
    He was quite popular with the general public.
    Three of his paintings sold for over 25 000 dollars at a London auction (2005).
    As the successful bidder put it, ‘Who is to say that humans have a monopoly on the ability to concept abstractly?’

Credit: Georgina


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