John Lennon’s never before seen art work to go on display

Monday, February 21, 2011

LONDON - Late Beatles member John Lennon’s never before seen artwork is set to go on display in a new exhibition.

The Art of John Lennon will feature prints of Lennon’s original hand-drawn sketches from the archive of his artwork belonging to Yoko Ono.

Included are three previously unseen drawings capturing his roles as political campaigner and family man.

One, called as the Power to the People, depicts a suited man standing on a plinth with a raised and clenched fist, wearing a spiked headdress, reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty.

The picture is thought to date from around 1972, when Lennon and Ono released ‘Some Time in New York City’, their fifth album together, which included songs protesting about social and political issues of the day.

Another sketch entitled Dream Power depicts Lennon, wearing his trademark circular spectacles, sitting under a tree with his arm around a naked and reclining Ono.

A third picture, Family of Peace, is a “sumi-ink” portrait of Lennon, Ono and their young son, Sean, who was five years old when his father was shot dead by Mark Chapman outside his New York apartment in December 1980.

The sketch is thought to date from some time after 1977, when Lennon travelled to Japan to learn the intricate technique of sumi ink drawing.

Each picture is stamped with Lennon’s seal featuring Japanese letters, which translate: “Like a cloud, beautiful sound”.

“In his lifetime, John Lennon the artist remained “an outsider” to the art world, largely because of his fame as a Beatle and how he was viewed by the world as a result,” the Telegraph quoted Ono as saying in a tribute to her late husband’s passion for art.

“John did his drawings with inspiration and speed, very much like how he created his songs. Most of the time, the drawings reflected his mood.

“Along with his guitar, pen and paper seemed to have served as ideal tools to express John’s complex emotions,” she stated.

While Lennon is best known for his music, his accomplishments as an artist emerged before his musical talent.

From 1957 to 1960, he attended the Liverpool Art Institute, later abandoning a career as an artist to form The Beatles, although he continued to sketch until his death.

“Very few people know what an accomplished artist John was - they just relate to him as a musician,” Jonathan Poole, the curator of the exhibition and a spokesman for Bag One Arts, Ono’s art publishing company, said.

“But much of his art work shows what a fantastic sense of humour he had and also touchingly portrays his love for Yoko and Sean,” he added.

The drawings will be among 30 works to be sold as limited edition prints, ranging in price from 800 pounds to 2,500 pounds, at the Art of John Lennon exhibition, which opens at the Mandeville Hotel in London on February 26. (ANI)

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