Paintings by Indian elephant auctioned in Hungary

  • 18 Nov - 24 Nov, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Paintings created by Sandra, an Indian elephant who enjoys using brushes, were auctioned by a Hungarian travelling circus recently.

The 42-year-old elephant’s three abstract canvasses, with coloured lines flowing across them resembling rivers, fetched about 40,000 forints ($150) each.

There was also a painting depicting Sandra herself, which was done by a Hungarian painter. That painting sold for 260,000 forints, and the money earned from it will be offered to an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia.

According to her owner and trainer Florian Richter, a horse acrobat and circus director, Sandra paints with her trunk only for pleasure. She was already well practised in a circus trick involving a shaving brush, when she was given a paintbrush, quickly adapted her skills to the canvas. Richter said that unlike many elephants in Thailand that are thought to be forced to paint, Sandra does it by herself when she is in the mood.

“I only help her with changing the brushes and putting them into paints but she does the rest by herself more or less. I praise her by saying ‘oh this is really good, or not so good’,” Richter said, and added, “We have been together for 40 years, so this is a family connection.”

Sandra arrived as a baby elephant at the circus where Richter grew up as a seventh generation member of an acrobat family.