McCartney the artist exhibits in Liverpool reveals his secret life as an artist

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The Independent Online

The first comprehensive exhibition of paintings by Sir Paul McCartney is to be staged in the celebrated Walker Art Gallery in his home city of Liverpool.

The first comprehensive exhibition of paintings by Sir Paul McCartney is to be staged in the celebrated Walker Art Gallery in his home city of Liverpool.

Some 60 works by the pop musician will go on show at the Walker, where Sir Paul said he had spent "many a pleasant afternoon" with his songwriting partner and art student friend, John Lennon.

The former Beatle, a self-taught artist, has always been modest about his work. "I'm not trying to impress anybody except myself," he said last year before exhibiting a small collection of paintings in Cologne, Germany. "I'm not really qualified to comment on what they're like, but my friends like them."

The works he exhibited included studies of his late wife Linda, whose father, Lee Eastman, was a great collector and an influence on Sir Paul's love of art.

Sir Paul has his own art collection, which includes a Magritte, but only started painting after his 40th birthday in 1982. He said recently: "Until then I had this big block in my head that only people who went to art school were allowed to paint. But when I got to 40, I realised this block was madness. I wanted to paint and the only person not allowing me a canvas was me."

The announcement of the exhibition was made during a live Internet Artcast on the Yahoo! chat site, where the former Beatle revealed he had kept his painting secret for 15 years, but was now "out of the closet".

The show will be the first in the Walker's new special exhibition galleries and will mark the completion of a multi-million-pound improvement programme.

Sir Paul, 58, who has exhibited some of his work before but never a complete selection, said: "I've been offered an exhibition of my paintings at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool where John and I used to spend many a pleasant afternoon. So I am really excited about it."

The exhibition, from October 2001 to January 2002, will be drawn from more than 500 works in oil and acrylic created by Sir Paul over the past 12 years. It is a result of negotiations between Sir Richard Foster, Director of National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside and Robbie Montgomery, the artist's agent.

Michael Simpson, the museum's curator, said: "Many of the paintings are new and have never been previously exhibited or published."

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