Wednesday 4 July 2012

Imagine the Art of John Lennon

‘If art were to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life, and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.’ 
John Lennon (1940-1980)

It is more than twenty five years since Yoko Ono Lennon opened John Lennon’s sketchbooks and began publishing limited edition fine art print reproductions of Lennon’s whimsical sketches through her New York based company Bag One Arts Inc. The collection, which now exceeds 150 editions, is one of the most successful fine art publishing enterprises in the world.

Since 1995 Maureen McCarthy has been Director of the travelling exhibition, Imagine The Art of John Lennon, comprising original drawings, limited edition fine art prints and handwritten song manuscripts by the legendary John Lennon. The collection has toured the US, Europe, Japan, South East Asia, South Africa and Australia.

Maureen said her first exposure to the Beatles was when an older cousin bought the single Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields 1968. When Maureen listened to these songs as a small child she had no idea that she would meet hundreds of thousands of fans of the Beatles at exhibitions of John Lennon’s art she has arranged in locations as diverse as Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Johannesburg and her hometown Sydney.

John studied art for three years at the Liverpool Art Institute from 1957-60 with the intention of becoming a commercial artist. Success as a Beatle put an end to that aspiration although John loved drawing and practiced his craft throughout his life. Lennon favoured the creative loose sketch known as quick sketch and many of his drawings have the style and simple beauty of a Matisse or Picasso, while others have the texture of classic Chinese or Japanese landscapes. 

More than a dozen exhibitions of John’s art were arranged during his lifetime and he also wrote and illustrated three books of verse. 

Maureen says "there is strong interest in collecting John Lennon’s art with the traditional well informed art collectors and with people who simply know and love John Lennon and his music". She added "Yoko Ono is delighted that John's fans in so many countries have had the opportunity to see his drawings which she regards as a way John can still say hello to people who love him." 

Print techniques for the posthumous prints of Lennon’s work published by Yoko include lithography, copper etching, chine colle serigraphy and silkscreen. The edition size for each print is 300 numbered works for sale worldwide. Each print is numbered in pencil and hand signed by Yoko Ono Lennon.

Yoko has published twenty eight of John Lennon’s handwritten song manuscripts, including In My Life, Revolution, Nowhere Man,Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Woman, Beautiful Boy, Instant Karma, Working Class Hero, Real Love and Imagine. The edition size for the song manuscripts is 1000 numbered prints for sale worldwide. These works are compelling and intensely personal reminders of John Lennon’s contribution to twentieth century culture.

The Imagine John Lennon limited edition fine art prints are available for sale online at

Or contact Maureen via email:
Twitter: @johnlennonart

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