McCartney Times

Paul McCartney Paintings – Article by Bill Harry

Paul McCartney Paintings – Article by Bill Harry

Paul McCartney Paintings – Article by Bill Harry
April 24
09:32 2018


Paul McCartney Paintings
Article by Bill Harry

Title of the exhibition of Paul’s paintings which opened at the Kuntforum Lyz Gallery, St. Johann Street in the University town of Siegen in Germany on Saturday May 1 1999.  It ran until Sunday July 25 1999

Paul had been passionate about art since he was a child and used to paint his own birthday and Christmas cards. He also designed some of the Beatles album sleeves.

In London in the mid-sixties, under the influence of gallery owner Robert Fraser, he became an art collector and particularly like the work of Rene Magritte.

Paul also became acquainted with the Dutch painter Williem de Kooning, based in New York, who was a client of Paul’s father-in-law. When Paul had turned forty, he was encouraged by de Kooning to take up painting and soon had his own work studios in his homes in the South of England, Arizona and Long Island. An added incentive was a Christmas present from Linda – Rene Magritte’s own easel. Since 1983 Paul produced nearly 600 abstract paintings.

It was Wolfgang Suttner, Cultural Events Officer, Siegen-Wittgenstein district of Westphalia who was responsible for Paul deciding on holding the exhibition in Siegen and Suttner and Paul selected 73 paintings for exhibition.

Discussing his decision to exhibit in Siegen, Paul said, “Wolfgang was the first person to approach me seriously. Many people said, ‘We’d like to give you an exhibition’, and I said, ‘You haven’t seen the pictures!’ They said, ‘That’s OK’ – they were just willing to exhibit the celebrity. Wolfgang was the first person who came up and said, ‘I’d like to look at your pictures and examine them’. So he took a very serious approach, and that’s how it wound up here. This is where he lives, Siegen, this is his gallery. I think it’s good, because it’s my first experience too, to see if I like it. And then if an offer comes for London or New York, I’ll maybe do that then.”

Suttner was to say, “His talent completely overshadows the artistic efforts of other stars who try to paint. Paul gave me his OK to the exhibition, as Siegen was the birthplace of Peter Paul Rubens’.

The exhibition was mainly for Paul to receive some feedback about his work as none of the paintings were for sale.  The exhibition also featured a sound/visual installation that was called ‘Feedback’ which sported six monitor sculptures designed by Paul, which displayed a video of him playing original music on guitar.

The paintings were in oils and acrylic, covered landscapes, portraits and abstracts and included several paintings of Linda. There were also paintings of John Lennon, David Bowie and the Queen of England, the latter entitled ‘A Salute to The Queen’. Other titles included ‘John’s room’, ‘Yellow Linda With Piano’, ‘Egypt Station’, ‘Sea God’ and ‘Tara’s Plastic Skirt’.

The official exhibition guide commented, “Most of the paintings of show are autonomous pictures with a strong emphasis on material and composition. In his pictures, McCartney – who is an admirer not only of Willem de Kooning, but also of Rene Magritte – brings together expressive and surreal elements in a synthesis determined by colour processes: the material qualities of the paint and accidental marks on the canvas are taken up and incorporated.”

The 142-page catalogue was more in the style of a paperback book and contained 82 reproductions of the paintings with text in German and a separate English translation. There were introductory pieces by Brian Clarke and Barry Miles, a critique by Christoph Tannert and a lengthy interview with Paul in which he discusses 34 of the paintings.

Paul was to say, “One thing I have learned is that the more precise you try to be about a thing, the less you achieve. You can go too wooden, you can lose the spirit of the thing.”

Paul had travelled to Seigen a few days before the opening of the exhibition and held a press conference on Friday, April 30 1999 during which he answered questions about his paintings before signing a number of limited edition prints of his work. A reception was held in the gallery that evening with Stella, James and Heather in attendance, along with Paul’s brother Mike, Sir George Martin and former Wings member Denny Laine.

Written by: Bill Harry ©2018. All rights reserved. No unauthorised copying or re-publishing of this material is allowed by law.
Please contact the writer for re-print permission. (Contributor, McCartney Times)

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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