The mythology of the Beatles, like all mass phenomena, extends far beyond the primary realm of their music — even the group’s most tangential interests and dalliances carry a profound aura of cultural history. Just ask Yoko Ono, who famously met John Lennon in 1966 at an opening of hers at London’s Indica Gallery, a basement space co-owned by John Dunbar, who was then married to Marianne Faithful. Though Yoko Ono’s influence on John Lennon’s creativity was electrifying, Lennon had long dabbled in visual work, as evidenced by a collection of his original artwork coming up for auction at Sotheby’s in June.
The psychedelic drawings and other ephemera, which the auction house claims is part of “the most extensive collection” of his papers to come to auction, are connected to two books Lennon “wrote and illustrated at the height of Beatlemania in 1964–1965,” In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. The illustrated works available, which range in estimate from $8,000 to $35,000, will be displayed in London and Austin before going on view in New York ahead of the auction on June 4.
John Lennon: “You Might Well Arsk” will be on view at Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) from May 28 to June 3.