“Willem de Kooning one day was shown some drawings, did not know who had done them, looked at them quite carefully, and said, ‘Well, they’re very interesting. They remind me a little bit of Japanese calligraphy, quite sophisticated. I don’t think they were done by a child.’ And the person who gave them to him to look at said, ‘No, they were done by an elephant, sir.’ Nothing has delighted me more for a long time. Siri was an elephant in a zoo who was seen making drawings with her trunk in the dust, and her keeper said, ‘Well, we must give her a chance to draw.’ But the head of the zoo thought he was crazy and would not do anything about it, so the keeper on his own bought charcoal and large sheets of paper and laid them at Siri’s feet. Lo and behold, she went at it at once with her long sensitive trunk and would concentrate for as much as an hour in perfect bliss.”
—May Sarton, entry dated Tuesday, November 5, 1991, in Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1993), 156–57.
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