During the 1950s, surrealist and ethologist Desmond Morris mentored Congo, a chimpanzee, in the great ape's artistic pursuits. Congo painted more than 400 works that were purchased by the likes of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. And now Morris is selling his collection of 55 of Congo's paintings at London's Mayor Gallery. He's keeping just one of them. The paintings — which will be priced around £1,500 – £6,000 — will first be on exhibit from December 3-19. From It's Nice That:
Morris worked with a number of apes in his research but explains that none matched Congo's apparent artistic instinct. "No other apes were controlling the mark making and varying the patterns as he was," Morris says. "I originally picked Congo out as one of the more boisterous at the zoo and felt that his strong personality would respond well to to focused periods of working together…"
Morris commented on his decision to sell all but one of his favourite paintings from the time, saying "I am holding onto the serious, scientific research notes that I made during my years working with Congo, but, at 91 years old, I now would rather that the paintings and drawings be made available to other collectors, to whom I hope they will bring as much pleasure as they have to me."