Though he will always remain best known as a musician, John Lennon never tried to hide his fondness for the visual arts. He'd attended art college in Liverpool, after all, and he made sketches and caricatures at every opportunity. This 1977 work, "Imagine Peace," captures him as a contented family man with wife Yoko Ono and son Sean.
From the Hamburg days of the early '60s, when Astrid Kirchherr took some notable portraits of the Beatles, Lennon was one of the most photographed people in the world. This portrait of him dates to the late 1970s.
After Sean was born in 1975, Lennon became a househusband, doting on his young son. "I've attended every meal, and how he sleeps, and the fact he swims like a fish because I took him to the ocean," he said. "I'm proud of all those things." This 1978 work is called "Family of Peace."
Lennon continued doing whimsical sketches, including one of two people kissing on television. "Love is the answer," it says, quoting a line from the song "Mind Games." The sketch, in black and white, originally appeared in his 1964 book, "In His Own Write."
John and Yoko moved to New York in 1971, first living in Greenwich Village, later in the Dakota on Central Park West. Food was a favorite topic: John loved baking bread, and on tapes of the "Double Fantasy" sessions, can be frequently heard ordering sushi.
This sketch, of which there are many variations, has come to be known simply as "Self-Portrait." It's Lennon at his most familiar, with glasses, his distinctive beaked nose, longish hair and an impish smile.
Lennon titled this 1978 work "A Happy Life."
John and Yoko got married on March 20, 1969. Two months later, they spent a honeymoon week in Montreal doing a "bed-in" for peace. While receiving visitors at the hotel, Lennon started putting his feelings into words. The lyrics, listed above, became "Give Peace a Chance." The song was recorded live in the Montreal hotel room on June 1, 1969.
Lennon's sketches of people were often basic, nothing more than a head and a blobby body. Still, the message got across, as with this sketch to "turn left and make peace."
This work, called "On Cloud 9," shows John and Yoko in the sky. Naturally, he hasn't forgotten his trusty guitar.
Lennon loved New York, not least because he could wander freely around stores and through Central Park. If people accosted him, it was usually for a handshake or an autograph. Still, there were always folks who described themselves as one of his "biggest fans."
During Lennon and Ono's 1969 honeymoon, the couple visited Amsterdam, Vienna and Paris, where this sketch was done.
Lennon's song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" has been a holiday staple since 1971. The song's peace-loving message is as timeless as this sketch of a tree surrounded by visitors: "War is over if you want it."