4-Year-Old Girl Takes NYC Art World By Storm

Little girl becomes youngest artist ever to be featured in Chelsea gallery.

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Monday, Jun 6, 2011  |  Updated 2:11 PM EDT
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She's just 4 years old, but an Australian artist is already being compared to abstract masters like Picasso and Pollack. Aelita Andre opened her first gallery in New York City over the weekend. She's the youngest artist to show at this Chelsea gallery and has already sold works for upwards of $30,000.

She's just 4 years old, but an Australian artist is already being compared to abstract masters like Picasso and Pollack. Aelita Andre opened her first gallery in New York City over the weekend. She's the youngest artist to show at this Chelsea gallery and has already sold works for upwards of $30,000.

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An Australian artist is making a splash in the New York art scene and she's only four years old.

Aelita Andre has a solo exhibition that opened last weekend at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, but she's already sold paintings worth upwards of $30,000 a pop on the side.

The Agora gallery director, Angela Di Bello, said she judges works without first learning about the artists as a practice, but was surprised to find out the talented artist she wanted to feature was merely a toddler. 

"I saw great colors, great movement, great composition and very playful, and I thought, 'This is fantastic,'" said Di Bello. "Who is this person? Only to find out, she's a child."

Aelita is the youngest artist to show at the Agora Gallery. She made many of the works featured in the exhibit when she was three years old, but her parents say her passion for painting began long before then.

"I used to paint, and I had prepared a canvas on the floor," said her proud father Michael Andre. "She was nine months old and she crawled onto the canvas and she just took to it, her hands moved around the canvas."

Andre and his wife, Nikka Kalashnikova, are both artists and say they encouraged their young daughter. They bought her large canvases, acrylic paints and other materials and allowed her to create what she wanted.

"She works with the paints individually, and layers the paint and creates texture. It's amazing that she has an innate ability to do it," Andre said.

Like any 4-year-old child, Aelita can be hyper and easily distracted, but her parents say once they put her in front of a canvas, she shows a mixture of concentration and play. It can take her a few hours to up to a day to finish her works.
 
But unlike other kids, Aelita's paintings are known internationally and can fetch thousands of dollars. Three of her paintings hanging at the Chelsea gallery have already been sold, for a whopping $27,000.

Her parents say she will only paint as long as she wants to and they fully understand that she might outgrow her love for the canvas. Until then, they will continue to encourage her and allow her to show her works across the world.

On their New York trip, the family visited the Museum of Modern Art.

Amid the works of Chagall and Picasso, they said Aelita was disappointed, saying "Where are my paintings?"

"The Prodigy of Color" will show at the Agora Gallery until the end of June.

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