The definitive collection of John Lennon’s artwork, spanning his early childhood to his untimely death in 1980.
Over the course of John Lennon’s career, his work as an artist expressed the societal themes that touched his life. Until now, little of this work has been seen in one place. For the first time, John Lennon: The Collected Artwork offers a captivating history of Lennon’s visionary art, from his early childhood to his untimely death in 1980. Lennon’s artwork predated his success with the Beatles and remained a passion throughout his years as a music legend. During his lifetime, he produced numerous series of sketches and lithographs, which were published starting in the early 1960s. Often surreal and composed through a method of free association, his drawings from this period were widely considered some of the finest interpretive artworks of the era. In 1969, Lennon began exhibiting selected drawings from a series entitled Bag One. This array was wildly popular and frequently censored due to its overt eroticism. His peace-themed sketches were elevated through their use in antiwar movements, beginning in the 1970s and continuing to the present day. Capturing his emotional, political, and imaginative energy, this lavishly produced collection serves as a timeless record of John Lennon’s creative spirit.
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Scott Gutterman writes about music and art for Vogue, Artforum, The New Yorker, GQ, and other publications. He is the deputy director of the Neue Galerie New York. He lives in New York City.Review:
PubWest Design Award 2015: Silver Award
John Lennon: The Collected Artwork is a beautifully packaged and presented book. The reproductions of his art are as good as those you’d see in any collection of this kind and the accompanying text does a good job of explaining their history and background. Lennon will always be best known as a musician, but this collection of his artwork provides a fascinating look into a different facet of an intelligent, opinionated and original mind. That alone makes it worth owning.”
For all that it reveals an icon, it also asks that we think about him in a different way. Lennon was not a great visual artist; there’s not a lot of development in his themes or style, and the images can seem incidental or tossed off. What redeems them, though, is their intimacy, the sense that this is work he was doing for himself. That’s something we often lose sight of, the notion of creativity as process rather than as product, that idea that they joy of art emerges in the making, rather than in the release.”
Los Angeles Times
A surprise witty, economical and accomplished. Comparisons with Thurber and even Steinberg are not too far-fetched, though Lennon developed his own distinctive style, particularly in the late, tender family drawings.”
The Independent (UK), named as a gift/art book of the year (Bantam edition)
Takes readers on a journey from the Beatle’s early, childhood doodles to his mature, rock star doodles...a rude and revealing energy to his art. As Yoko Ono writes in her introduction, John always brought fresh air” to any medium he was working on.”
The Telegraph, named Best Music Books to Read (Bantam edition)
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