Status: Art hoax
Dr. Katja Schneider, director of the State Art Museum in Moritzburg, has been embarrassed by mistaking a painting
done by Banghi, a 31-year-old female chimp, for a work by the late Ernst Wilhelm Nay
The director of the State Art Museum of Moritzburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Katja Schneider, suggested the painting was by the Guggenheim Prize-winning artist Ernst Wilhelm Nay. "It looks like an Ernst Wilhelm Nay. He was famous for using such blotches of colour," Dr Schneider confidently asserted. The canvas was actually the work of Banghi, a 31-year-old female chimp at the local zoo. While Banghi likes to paint, she is not able to build up much of a body of work as her mate Satscho generally destroys her paintings before they can get to the gallery. But this one survived long enough to give Dr Schneider a red face. "I did think it looked a bit rushed," she told Bild newspaper.
Of course, this isn't the first time monkey art has fooled an expert. The classic case occurred in 1964 when newsmen from Sweden's Göteborgs-Tidningen
obtained some paintings by Peter, a four-year-old chimp at the Boras zoo. They hung the paintings in a gallery, claiming they were the work of avant-garde artist Pierre Brassau
. And soon the works were drawing critical acclaim. One critic wrote: "Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer."
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find examples posted online of the art of either Banghi or Pierre Brassau.