||A two-foot-square abstract painting created by a Thai elephant holding a brush in her trunk sold last week for £650 at Sotheby's in Billingshurst, West Sussex, according to the Sunday Mirror. The elephant, named Loukennkhng, made the painting while recuperating from an eye infection at an animal hospital near Lam-pang in Thailand. Sotheby's experts gave the work a presale estimate of £300-£500. Loukennkhng, who is said to have retired from her art career, is the first animal to have a work sold at Sotheby's.
Queen Elizabeth has agreed to pose for Lucian Freud, according to Women's Wear Daily. Freud reportedly insisted she come to his studio and pose for a minimum of 72 sittings.
A new kind of chair collectible is coming out of England. Hundreds of chairs used at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, are being marketed for £3,000 apiece via ads in Architectural Digest. Each of the 800 beech chairs bears a brass plaque and a certificate of authenticity signed by Wesley Carr, dean of Westminster Abbey, where the funeral took place. The ad reads, "From the coronations of kings and queens of England to the recent funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, the chairs of Westminster Abbey have borne silent witness to the majestic unfolding of English royal history . . . This is a genuinely unique and by its very nature strictly limited offer that can simply never be repeated." Normally a second-hand church chair would sell for about £70. The sale of the chairs was not publicized in England and regular worshippers at Westminster have been puzzled for months about their disappearance.
Marlon Brando has decided at the age of 74 to embark on a new career -- oil painting. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the great method actor is spending a month on his private island in Tahiti to teach himself the art form.
At art critic John Russell's recent 80th birthday, according to Women's Wear Daily, such guests as Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Alex Katz and Prudence of Swaziland downed roast chicken with sausages from tables which had as centerpieces a shiny white ceramic dog vase by Jeff Koons.
Julian Schnabel has bought one of the 115-year-old Stanford White-designed houses on Montauk Point for a reported $1.1 million, according to Dan's Papers. Others living out that way include Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, Dick Cavett, Paul Morrissey and Paul Simon.
Another East End resident, Ross Bleckner of Sagaponack, is quoted in the Artist's Alliance Newsletter regarding his wish to be cremated. "I want to be ground up and have my assistants' mix my ashes in a vat of oil paint that they will dispense into little jars. Then they'll distribute the mixture to my 10 favorite painters, who'll use the mixture, me in the paint, for works that'll hang in a group show held in my honor. That'll be my afterlife -- a group show."
The Daily News reports that Jared Harris, who starred as the Pope of Pop in the movie I Shot Andy Warhol, bought a photo that Dennis Hopper took of Warhol for $3,240 at the Bailey House Charity Auction last week. When Harris attended the premiere of the Mary Harron-directed flick at the Tunnel he told me that he had wanted to have a staged shooting complete with ambulance as a publicity stunt, but that club management nixed the scheme fearing a riot might ensue. Andy would have loved it.
At the launch party for new Madison magazine there was much talk about Madison using Leonardo da Vinci's handwriting font for its logo, until it turned out that advertisers enthusiasm for the idea had all been a mistake -- they thought the handwriting in question was that of Leonardo diCaprio.
Hollywood actress Diandra Douglas (former wife of Michael Douglas) is dating 33-year-old L.A. painter Sacha Newley, according to industry reports. Newley, who is the son of Joan Collins and Anthony Newley, has done a portrait of Dominick Dunne for his book jacket, and movie director Oliver Stone is said to own five Newley paintings.
The British New Wave band Mansun has received permission to use a painting by the late Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe on the cover of its next EP, Closed for Business. It will be the first time Sutcliffe's estate has granted permission for commercial use of his paintings, which were recently shown in Liverpool. Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962.
Jocelyn Wildenstein, the estranged wife of billionaire New York art dealer Alec Wildenstein, is planning to open her own an art gallery, according to MSNBC. Jocelyn reportedly has her eye on a space in Trump Tower and would sell mostly Impressionist art. She also plans to bring out a namesake fragrance, says an insider.
BAIRD JONES is a New York curator and writer.