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When I See an Elephant ... Paint?

Think You've Seen About Everything? Try Paintings by Elephants that Sell for Thousands of Dollars

The Scientist, Graciela Flores, June 1, 2007

It started off as somewhat of a joke -- in 1997, elephant expert Richard Lair teamed up with conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid to start an elephant art academy. They would teach retired elephants to paint -- something that others had tried with success in the past -- and the resulting artwork would raise money and awareness of the plight of Asian elephants, whose numbers are declining at an alarming rate.

Now, the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, a charity organization based in New York City, founded by Komar and Melamid, has created an international market for elephant art, and auctioned elephant paintings at Christie's. The most expensive painting, by Ruby, a female elephant at the Phoenix Zoo, in Arizona, sold for $25,000.

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