Aelita Andre (born 9 January 2007) is an Australian abstract artist known for her Surrealist painting style and her young age. She began to paint when aged nine months, and her work was displayed publicly in a group exhibition shortly after she turned two. Her first solo exhibition opened in New York City in June 2011, when she was four years old.
Background[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
Andre was born to Australian father Michael Andre and Russian mother Nikka Kalashnikova. As a baby, she often watched her parents, both artists themselves, work on canvases on the floor. She learned to paint before she could walk, several months prior to her first birthday. She and her family currently reside in Melbourne.
Beginning[edit | hide | edit source]
Andre's mother, believing her daughter to be a child prodigy, showed some of Andre's paintings to a Melbourne-based art curator when the girl was 22 months old. Impressed with the work, the curator agreed to include it in a group exhibition in the Brunswick Street Gallery, and he began advertising the show with Andre's paintings before he learned of her age. Although he was surprised, he kept his promise to display the work. The show opened shortly after her second birthday and also featured Kalashnikova's photography. Several months later, Andre and her parents visited Hong Kong, where she sold a painting for $24,000.
The Prodigy of Color[edit | hide | edit source]
Andre's first solo exhibition, The Prodigy of Color, ran from 4 to 25 June 2011 at the Agora Gallery, a gallery in Chelsea. It contained 24 of her paintings, each on sale for between $4,400 and $10,000. The press nicknamed her "the Pee-wee Picasso" after nine of the works sold for a total of more than $30,000.
Secret Universe[edit | hide | edit source]
Andre's second solo exhibition, Secret Universe, ran from 12 June to 3 July 2012 at the Agora Gallery.
Style and critical reception[edit | hide | edit source]
Andre paints with acrylics and often adds three-dimensional objects, including bark, twigs, and feathers, to the canvases. Art critics have noted Andre's work, classified as abstract expressionism, for its employment of the Surrealist techniques automatism and accidentalism. She has been compared her to Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. The New York Times acknowledged her widespread notoriety but commented that her paintings "are hardly novel from a formal vantage, nor do they provide added meaning below the surface." The same Times article noted that although her 2009 exhibition in Melbourne was not at a vanity gallery, the Agora Gallery's pay-for-show operation generated controversy about the legitimacy of her international fame.
References[edit | hide | edit source]
- Kermond, Clare (8 January 2009). "The curious case of Aelita Andre, artist, aged 2". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
She turns two tomorrow.
- Kelly, Tara (7 June 2011). "Is this four-year-old artist the next Picasso?". Time. Time Warner. Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Flock, Elizabeth (24 May 2011). "Aelita Andre, four-year-old prodigy painter". The Washington Post. Katharine Weymouth. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Doll, Jen (6 June 2011). "Aelita Andre, artist now showing at a Chelsea gallery, is four years old". The Village Voice. Michael Cohen. Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Hamilton, Brad (4 June 2011). "4-year-old artist making splash in city". New York Post. Paul Carlucci. Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Horowitz, Noah (11 June 2011). "Your 4-year-old can't do that". The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved 25 June 2011.