Sgt Lennon’s lonely art club band


By Michael MacLeod

ALL you need is… £500 to own a rare piece of John Lennon’s artwork, thanks to the credit crunch.

Unseen doodles, sketches and paintings by the Beatles legend will be unveiled on Monday, with organisers anticipating ‘a stampede’ from fans of the Fab Four.

They include excerpts from a book of paintings titled ‘Real Love’ which the songwriter created for his then baby son Sean in the 1970s.

His widow Yoko Ono says she released the latest works at knock-down prices in light of the credit crunch and “to showcase his range of talents.”

Strict copyright rules on all of John Lennon’s work mean that even reproduced prints are highly sought and fetch as much as £4,700.


Only 300 of each print will be available at a gallery in Edinburgh, and include handwritten lyrics from ‘Imagine’ and Lennon’s iconic self portrait.

Yoko’s friend Jonathan Poole arranged an exhibition for the ‘new’ artwork explained Ono’s thinking behind the price cut.

He said: “She cut the prices because is simply being realistic about the money people have to spend in the face of the current economic climate.

“It probably means we’ll have a stampede on Monday, but I wouldn’t be surprised because he is such an icon.

“I’ve been in the business 30 years and I’ve rarely sensed such anticipation about a show.”

The exhibition at The Dome on George Street, includes 45 pieces, 14 of which are newly released and shine a light on a more personal side of Lennon’s family life.

He began drawing long before he had a guitar; attending the prestigious Liverpool Art Institute for three years before the Beatles became a full-time occupation and he continued to draw throughout his life.

His primary medium was line drawing either in pen, pencil, or Japanese sumi ink.

At the time of his death, John had saved and preserved several hundred drawings that he considered important.

In 1986, Yoko Ono, acting for the John Lennon Estate, began releasing limited editions of some of the most meaningful drawings, using only fine art printing techniques, with the goal of re-establishing John Lennon as an important artist of his time.

Mr Poole added: “It’s an insight into John’s opinions on everyday life, his family and his sense of humour – it’s a happy show.

“The whole point for Yoko was to showcase John’s range of talents.

“It’s one hell of a show when you consider how limited these items are, each limited to 300. While they are prints, they can fetch as much as £4,700 so it really is unheard of.

“People will walk in with great curiosity and leave with huge smiles on their faces, and hopefully a bargain under their arm.”

Lennon signed each piece of his art using a patented stamp, know as a chop, which comes from artists in the Orient.

The red stamp was designed to read ‘Like a Cloud, Beautiful Sound’ and features on all limited edition prints on sale at the exhibition include this unique marking.

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  1. The Artwork of John Lennon is a -FRAUD- by his widow Yoko Ono, along with her business associates: Legacy Fine Art Production, Pacific Edge Gallery and others, to cash in at the expense of the public and legitimate artists, not to mention John Lennon’s true legacy.

    Since 1986, Yoko Ono and her business associates have misrepresented more than 35,000 posthumous black-and-white reproductions and/or colorized and altered fakes for sale to the public at $500 to $8,000 or more each as original works of visual art ie. “lithographs,” “serigraphs,” “woodcuts” and “etchings,” not to mention as the “Artwork of John Lennon.”

    John Lennon died in 1980. The dead don’t create artwork.

    Yoko Ono began this fraud sometime before 1986 when she hired chromists (someone who copies the artist’s work) to reproduce John Lennon’s black-and-white drawings.

    Soon after 1986, Yoko Ono found out these non-disclosed black-and-white reproductions, even when misrepresented as original works of visual art, weren’t selling as quickly as she liked, she had them colorized.

    Eventually in the late 1990’s, Yoko Ono, lost all inhibitions about John Lennon’s true legacy and began authorizing not only the colorization of John Lennon’s original black-and-white drawings but their alteration into new compositions that John Lennon could not have approved since he was still dead.

    Then to add insult to injury, from the very beginning of this fraud in 1986, Yoko Ono authorized the posthumous application of a counterfeit John Lennon chopmark/signature to each one of these non-disclosed fakes to create the illusion that John Lennon created and approved them, much less signed them.

    In other words, at best, Yoko Ono and her business associates, wants the public to suspend disbelief or just believe that John Lennon has created, approved and signed more works of visual art in the last 22 years than any living artist in the history of man and he’s dead.

    How’d he do that?

    To learn more about this fraud, link to:

    Gary Arseneau
    artist, creator of original lithographs & scholar
    Fernandina Beach, Florida

    • Gary, how come you’re the ONLY one who mentions this so-called fraud? Fraud is willfully masking something as something that it isn’t. Yoko has NEVER claimed these litho’s are the “original” artwork of Johns. At her shows they clearly say they are prints and everyone knows that. They also know that it was colorized by her. It’s not her fault that the market for these pieces are what they are. People are buying and selling these pieces and they do very well.

      I know Yoko is a horrible singer but that doesn’t mean she can’t sell lithographs that her husband drew before he died. No one EVER claimed they were the original artwork. I am not sure where you keep getting that misinformation.

      BTW – It sounds to me like you have a deep seeded resentment that you need to work out. Maybe it’s jealousy that she makes more money than you in art and she’s not even an artist.

      Get over it.

      • PS – Yoko’s a billionaire. She doesn’t need the money from the art sales and that would be the only motive for deceit. Money, and she has plenty of it already.

  2. December 19, 2009

    Lithographs, like any original printmaking medium, are original works of visual art “wholly executed by hand by the artist” and “exclude any mechanical and photomechanical processes.” (U.S. Customs Informed Compliance)

    John Lennon (d 1980) since 1986 has been credited by Yoko Ono and her business associates, as creating over 50,000 original works of visual art.

    How’d he do that?

    If Yoko Ono may use “artwork” as an euphemism for -forgeries- don’t I have the moral obiligation to point that out.

    Finally, if there was no merit to my allegations, why have they been published and televised for over the last ten years. Why hasn’t Yoko Ono and her business associates sued me for defamation?

    Because the truth is a legal defense.

    The dead don’t create artwork.


    Gary Arseneau
    artist, creator of original lithographs & scholar
    Fernandina Beach, Florida

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