February 1964: Pierre Brassau

A 4 1/2-year-old chimpanzee namd Peter lives in an animal park in Goteborg, Sweden. Last fall a couple of newspapermen on the Goteborgs-Tidningen got the idea that maybe Peter could paint pictures. On the sly, they gave the chimp a palette, paints, brushes and canvas, and Peter promptly set to work. Recently the newspapermen picked out four of Peter's better paintings and slipped them into a local art show to see what the critics would say. The paintings were signed Pierre Brassau, who was described as an unknown French painter. The critics fell for the monkey business, especially Rolf Anderberg of the morning Posten, who wrote rapturously: "Pierre Brassau paints with powerful strokes but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with a furious fastidiousness on the canvas." Critic Anderberg then went on to compare Pierre with another painter in the show. The other painter, Anderberg wrote, was ponderous but "Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer." When the hoax was revealed, Anderberg was bitter. He insisted that Pierre's work was "still the best painting in the exhibition." He may be right. A private collector bought one canvas for $90.
     -- "Monkey Business," Sports Illustrated, February 24, 1964
* Summary from The Museum of Hoaxes: @
* Winners of 2013 Chimpanzee Art Contest (from The Humane Society of the United States): @ 

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