10 Child Prodigies


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Aelita Andre
Could your kid do that? Some examples of Aelita Andre's artwork from a 2014 exhibition (when she was 5) are displayed. Chance Yeh/Getty Images

The Australian artist Aelita Andre, just 9 years old in 2018, is a somewhat controversial child prodigy. According to her parents, Andre began painting at 9 months. Her first works consisted of colorful acrylic smears on red and black canvases with names like "The Cloud Man" and "Lizard at Sunset." At 22 months, her first painting was hung in a London gallery.

Andre's style is described as "magical abstraction" and has drawn comparisons to drip-and-splotch masters like Jackson Pollock. In addition to that first London exhibit, Andre has staged solo shows in her native Australia, New York City, Italy, Paris, Hong Kong and Russia, where her paintings have sold for a reported $24,000 or more [source: Horowitz]. (Did we mention she's just 9?)

But from the moment Andre first started making headlines as a pint-size Picasso, she's had her critics. Some accuse her parents — both professional artists — of unduly influencing, if not outright creating her art. And then there's criticism of the art itself, abstract splashes of paint that invite plenty of "my kid could do that" scoffing.

But watching videos of the Andre at work, it's clear that she's very much the young mind behind the masterpieces, playful but serious as she squirts squeeze bottles of paint across oversized canvases positioned on the floor. And her work has matured over time, evolving from seemingly random finger-paintings to fully composed multimedia installations.

Like other artist prodigies — Picasso among them — the final word on her childhood genius will likely depend on her success as an adult.

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