German orangutans sell €3,200 in paintings to UK

German orangutans sell €3,200 in paintings to UK
Photo: DPA
A private London-based art collection has bought 22 works from orangutans at the Krefeld Zoo in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Sita, Tilda, and Sandra, three female orangutans from the zoo painted the works of art, which sold for a total of €3,200, according to a statement released by the city of Krefeld on Monday. Two-thirds of the proceeds will go to the zoo for the construction of a new €1-million primate habitat.

Düsseldorf art agency Fundart-21 markets the paintings as a fundraising project called “affenBRUT,” said agency founder Heinz Hachel. The agency actively engages the question of whether art created by primates actually deserves to be called “art,” but Hachel says the works are, at the very least, an expression of “rudimentary aesthetic competence.” The fascination for these paintings, Hachel said, lies in the way they exhibit the roots of human aesthetics and creativity. Each painting sells for between €100 and €900, and some 40 have sold since October, 2007.

The contemporary art collection wishes to remain anonymous, which, according to the statement, “is not unusual in these circles.”