We’re not sure if Abstract Expressionist master Jackson Pollock will be so thrilled with this post, or either Andy Warhol for that matter, but a monkey is now selling artworks to help expand the zoo that he’s a part of. The monkey is named Pockets Warhol because of his wild white hair, but apparently that’s where the resemblance stops. The artwork he creates is more abstract in style, leading his handlers to quip that he may be a reincarnation of the late Pollock. The monkey Pockets is a white-capped capuchin monkey, and predominantly paints with his tail, hands, feet and sometimes, his handlers cheekily note, a brush.
Zoo volunteer Charmaine Quinn introduced Pockets to painting a year ago when she gave him some non-toxic children’s paint to keep him occupied. “Pockets has always been very playful so he really took to painting, however, he does have an artistic temperament and can lack concentration, sometimes preferring to eat the paint,” she said. Pocket’s star is also on the rise – a resident of the Story Book Farm in Canada, he’s sold paintings to European visitors, with his furthest fan from Israel. With works priced about $250, all proceeds go to a new barn for the sanctuary – you better get yours quick before the word gets out more, as the gifted monkey will be hosting an art show of 40 oil paintings in Toronto within the next two months.
On to more serious Pollock painting news, more details have been revealed about the Pierre Lagrange lawsuit against the art gallery Knoedler and Ann Freedman, the gallery’s former president, a topic we touched on in our last post. Lagrange is demanding back the $17 million he paid in 2007 for a Pollock painting he alleges was a fake, known as “Untitled 1950” and sold to him as a lie. A forensic examiner employed by Mr Lagrange recently declared the work a forgery after discovering paints that were only manufactured after Pollock’s death (Freedman’s lawyers say it was common practice for painting companies to give out samples to artists to use and for feedback, a claim possibly settled by confirmation from the said paint companies).
What the recent records from the lawsuit hearing show is that a new person of interest has appeared: Glafira Rosales, a Rhode Island art dealer, who apparently supplied the Pollock painting Untitled 1950 to the gallery. Rosales claimed the painting, along with another 18 or so, were all bought directly from artists such as Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline and hidden in Mexico for the past 50 years by a reclusive Mexican art dealer. We know, sounds too good to be true, huh? To add further punch to the pudding, she has refused to release the name, or any other details, of the collector, in addition to the fact that there is no known paperwork or documentation to support the claims. In her personal defence during a hearing, Ms. Freedman said she still had every reason to believe the work was authentic, citing more than a dozen respected scholars the gallery had gained sworn statements from saying the works were, at the very least, possible creations of the artists. A note of caution to any potential buyers – if it is too good to be true, it probably is – untrue that is.