There’s a 7-year-old painting prodigy we should all pay attention to

Aelita Andre is an Australian abstract expressionist painter, whose first solo show in New York sold out within a week. Each of the paintings raked in between $4,400 and $10,000. It was 2011, and Andre was four years old.

Now seven years old, Andre is the youngest professional painter in the world. She started painting at nine months old, when, as a diapered toddler, she crawled over one of her father’s canvases and began spreading and mixing colors from the tube. Her parents were both artists, and noted that Andre had a real eye for composition. And critics agreed.

“I saw great colors, great movement, great composition, and very playful, and I thought ‘This is fantastic. Who is this person?’” Agora Gallery’s director Angela Di Bello told NBC of Andre’s first canvases. “Only to find out, she’s a child.”

Some critics questioned whether Andre’s parents were involved in the creation of her masterpieces. But their suspicions were dispelled after Andre’s parents produced video of Andre making the paintings in question.

Andre recently completed her fourth New York solo show at Gallery 151, canvases with violins mounted on to them. “Once the violin is totally onto the canvas with the paint and glitter and things, they are a part of each other,” she told the Daily Beast. “You can’t separate them. The same way my art is a part of me; the violin is a part of the canvas and the painting is able to sing.”

And though it’s easy to roll your eyes at the idea of a 7-year-old famous painter—it sounds like a Simpsons joke and not an actual thing—Andre’s paintings are compelling. They have the beauty and curiosity of an artist who never learned the rules, so she made up all her own.

(Images via