Chris Berens

Hattie

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Hattie is an elephant from NYC, that in 1904 was described as “the most intelligent of all elephants”. In 1911 she was portrayed as “nearly human”.

She owes her name to the fact that in 1887 she was the first elephant to ever wear a hat. It wasn’t until 1902 that it was discovered she not only manufactured her hats herself, she lived on the Upper East Side because of the park view and high ceilings, she was a fond interpreter of Buddy Bolden’s ragtime oeuvre, recites Baudelaire, has a strong preference for speaking correctly and was known to correct her visitors’ grammar.

HATTIE is a distinguished matriarch with a firm hand who always knows what’s best. But also, she is a loving granny who insists you stay for dinner, will cover you in hugs and wet kisses and force-feed you cider and cookies when you’re in town.

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