Monkey painting

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Painting by Congo (chimpanzee)

During the late 1950s biologists began to study the nature of art in humans. Of the theories proposed few had such a striking effect as those based on observations of non-human primate paintings, hundreds of which were cataloged by Desmond Morris. Morris, along with his associate Tyler Harris, took these canvas paintings to indicate an intrinsic motivation for abstract creativity, expressed through an exploration of the visual field and color. Surprisingly, many of these painters progressed over time by expanding or contracting the area of paint coverage, the horizontal/vertical stroke relationships and even the development of content among those taught some English vocabulary.

Monkey paintings were exhibited in many modern art museums and experienced a fad following in the early 1960s. The cultural and scientific interest in monkey painting diminished steadily and little note is taken today.

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