Cape Town - South African African painting pig, Pigcasso, filled the piggy bank after selling an abstract artwork for a record of R400 000 on December 13, with the proceeds going to Farm Sanctuary SA, an animal rescue service in Franschhoek where the pig lives.
Pigcasso was rescued when she was a month old from an industrialised hog farm near Cape Town in 2016, and when Farm Sanctuary SA director and Pigcasso’s owner, Joanne Lefson, noticed that the pig had a knack for using old paintbrushes left by accident in her stall, she nurtured its interest.
The sale of Pigcasso’s artwork broke the record previously held by a chimpanzee called Congo, whose three tempera paintings were auctioned at Bonhams auction house in London in 2005 for R257 506.
Lefson had Congo’s record in mind before Pigcasso, on a 1.6 x 2.6 metre canvas, created Wild and Free, which was priced at R357 647.40.
The work was posted on social media and sold to a German art collector, Peter Esser, who had already invested in a number of Pigcasso’s artworks after coming across the talented pig in German media in 2018.
“It’s not just a visually striking and beautiful painting, it’s a profound moment for Pigcasso, and for farm animals. You can’t look at it and not place greater value on their intelligence, individuality and creativity,” Lefson said.
Pigcasso has created over 400 artworks and most of them have been sold.
Lefson said English primatologist Jane Goodall was an avid collector of Pigcasso’s works and Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick flew to the sanctuary to personally commission a painting by the pig prodigy.
Now some of Pigcasso’s artworks are set to be showcased at the Oxford and Amsterdam international art fairs in 2022.