June 24, 2024

Painting Pig Named Pigcasso Sold $1 Million in Artwork, Rescuer Says

  • A pig named Pigcasso paints portraits and has sold $1 million worth of art, her caretaker says.
  • Pigcasso is famed for holding a paintbrush in her mouth and waving it all over a canvas.
  • Her paintings can sell for as much as $26,000, per animal activist Joanne Lefson.

A pig who paints portraits with a brush in her mouth has raked in over $1 million in art sales, according to her caretaker.

Paintings by the renowned Pigcasso, adopted by South African animal rights activist Joanne Lefson, have fetched up to $26,000 apiece, according to Lefson’s new book, “Pigcasso: The Million-dollar artistic pig that saved a sanctuary.”

An excerpt from the book was published by The Daily Mail on Saturday.

Pigcasso, rescued as a piglet by Lefson in 2016 from an abattoir, lives in a sanctuary owned by the activist and has raised more than $1 million via her artwork, Lefson wrote. The money goes to food supplies, sanctuary staff salaries, veterinary bills, and other costs for the facility, she added.

The hog paints by holding a modified brush with her mouth and whipping it back and forth on canvas, as captured in a 2018 clip from National Geographic. When Pigcasso is finished with her work, she marks the piece with her snout, according to Lefson’s website.

Lefson told Reuters in 2019 that she first noticed Pigcasso’s penchant for painting when the piglet would chew and destroy most items in her stall while playing, but treat paintbrushes with care.

The activist wrote in her book that she attached used toilet rolls to a brush handle and gave the contraption to Pigcasso, who naturally waved it using her mouth.

By rewarding Pigcasso with grapes and through “one-on-one lessons involving me on my hands and knees crawling around her barn with a brush in my mouth,” Lefson taught the pig to paint, she wrote. 

Pigcasso, a painting pig from South Africa, stands with its owner Joanne Lefson next to a picture it painted.

Lefson and Pigcasso pose for a photo.

Kristin Palitza/picture alliance via Getty Image



“The most intriguing moments were those when she’d make incredible shapes all by herself — a heart, an initial, a number — and I would stop her, asking myself what more it needed,” wrote the activist.

Pigcasso has since fielded commissions from tennis legend Rafael Nadal and British actor Ed Westwick, Lefson wrote. The hog’s work has been featured on Swatch watch faces that sold for $1,000 each in 2019.

Lefson did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

“Pigcasso: The Million-dollar artistic pig that saved a sanctuary” is set to be released on August 3, per The Daily Mail. It is listed for an October release on Amazon.

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