Pigcasso, the Famous Pig Painter Who Raised Over $1 Million, Has Passed Away

Pigcasso, the famous pig painter, passed away at eight years old. she was born as livestock but was destined for greatness and became the world’s preeminent animal abstract expressionist. She was rescued from a slaughterhouse as a piglet in April 2016. By October, she was already showing signs of a savant swine and creating incredible works of art. As her talent and fame grew, so did her list of wealthy art-hogging clientele. This led to him inspiring millions, setting world records, and raising over $1 million for his sanctuary. Over her life, the prolific porker painted over 500 pieces.

Along with her sister Rosie, Pigcasso was rescued by Joanne Lefson and taken to her Farm Sanctuary in South Africa. Lefson appreciated the intelligence of pigs and wanted to ensure they were happy and stimulated. Rosie was easy, but Pigcasso, like so many iconic tortured artists throughout history, was moody and tumultuous. She didn’t want to play with toys and destroyed everything in her stall… Except for a couple paint brushes.

Lefson sensed the piglet’s passion for the arts and wanted to encourage it. So using clicker training and positive reinforcement techniques, she trained Pigcasso to hold a brush and paint on an easel. And the hog was immediately hungry for more. After just five months, Pigcasso sold her first piece in October 2016. To ensure authenticity, Pigcasso started signing each piece with a snout print (using animal-safe beetroot ink)

By 2018, Pigcasso was hosting her own art exhibits in Cape Town. Then in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and China. This earned her the title of the first non-human artist to have their own art exhibit. Then in December 2021, Pigcasso sold a piece for £20,000 (around $25,000 USD) titled Wild and Free (seen the first Instagram above). This set a new record for most expensive artwork created by an animal. It blew away the previous record of £14,000 that was set by a painting by Congo the chimpanzee.

Pigcasso’s celebrity clientele includes Jane Goodall, Rafael Nadal, and George Clooney (who famously had a pet pig named Max.) Jane Goodall even went to visit Pigcasso after hearing about her failing health, but sadly arrived the day after she passed.

Like plenty of human celebrities, Pigcasso also had brand endorsements. She worked with watchmaker Swatch to design a watch called “Flying Pig” in 2019. In 2020, she launched a “Pigcasso” wine made from grapes grown at her farm sanctuary. Pigcasso also painted a piece dedicated to Lionel Messi for his World Cup win in 2022.

And even as her health deteriorated, her artist spirit was still strong. Her final piece was an incredible three meters long, which will be hung next to her first painting in her farm sanctuary.

You can follow Pigcasso’s legacy on Instagram at @pigcassohoghero and visit pigcasso.org.

For another heroic hog, check out the story of Lulu the pig, who “played dead” to save their owner’s life.

Lulu the pig being interviewed
More In: Pigs