John Lennon's self-portrait of himself as Hitler sells for $54k

There are several known self-portraits taken from Lennon's personal sketchbook which incorporate Nazi iconography

Clarisse Loughrey
Monday 23 April 2018 09:39 BST

A self-portrait by John Lennon which depicts himself as Adolf Hitler has sold at auction for $54,000.

The rough sketch, reportedly created during the Beatles member’s time attending the Liverpool College of Art in the late 1950s, shows Lennon on a podium with his hand raised in a Nazi salute and the words “Heil John” repeated several times, with the implication they are being chanted by a crowd.

There are several known self-portraits taken from Lennon’s personal sketchbook which appear to depict the musician with an appearance imitating Hitler’s and accompanied by Nazi iconography.

Another drawing shows the Third Reich Nuremberg eagle perched above Lennon’s initials.

“He drew these when he was a college student, and the fact that he even thought of depicting himself as Hitler is weird,” Gary Zimet of Moments in Time told Page Six, which is arranging the sale. “Original Lennon drawings are very desirable and they are ultra rare.”

A famous controversy surrounding the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band suggests that Lennon had optioned Hitler as one of the numerous celebrities and cultural figures rendered as wax models and cardboard cut-outs for the shot.

In 2007, Sir Peter Blake – who co-created the cover - revealed to The Independent that Hitler did actually make the final line-up, but is simply obscured by the Beatles themselves. ”Yes he is on there – you just can’t see him,” he said.

He added: “If you look at photographs of the out-takes, you can see the Hitler image in the studio. With the crowd behind there was an element of chance about who you can and cannot see, and we weren’t quite sure who would be covered in the final shot. Hitler was in fact covered up behind the band.”

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