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    Sale 5871

    Popular Culture: Rock & Pop

    1 July 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 187

    John Lennon

    Price Realised  


    John Lennon
    A rare hand drawn placard inscribed by John Lennon in French in large black letters with the slogan L'Amour Et La Paix [Love and Peace] and signed by both John and Yoko, Montreal, 1969, the placard drafted by Lennon in black felt pen in Suite 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Canada, during John and Yoko's historic Bed-In for Peace, 26 May - 2 June, 1969, additionally signed and inscribed Montreal, John Lennon, 1969 and Yoko Ono, Montreal, 69; the placard inscribed by Lennon on a piece of white card in large format for display purposes in the Lennon's hotel suite where it was attached to the wall and clearly visible to the world's press during the week's media frenzy, the card -- 22½x28½in. (56.5x50cm.); accompanied by a large black and white machine-print portrait photograph by Ivor Sharp of John and Yoko posing with flowers at the Bed-In with this L'Amour Et La Paix placard clearly visible on the wall behind them -- 34x24in. (86.5x61cm.); and a preliminary printed proof of an image from the Bag One series inscribed on the reverse in pencil in an unidentified hand John placing ring on Yoko's finger -- 20x26in. (50.7x66cm.)

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    It's notable that of all the Peace slogans which John and Yoko used to decorate the walls of their hotel suites in both the Amsterdam and Montreal Bed-Ins, L'Amour Et La Paix [Love and Peace] if not the only one, is one of the very few prominent ones in which Lennon used a language other than English. His choice of the French language for a placard in Canada reveals his acute political sensitivity in the light of the brewing separatist FLQ [Front de Liberation du Quebec] crisis at the time. By using bi-lingual signage in Montreal John astutely averted any problems he might have encountered.

    This year marks the 40th Anniversary for John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace. The Montreal Bed-In was held two months after their honeymoon Bed-In at the Amsterdam Hilton, and was originally planned to be held in New York City. The newly married Lennons were however denied access to the States, due to John's earlier drug conviction in 1968, so opted instead to use Montreal, Canada as a base due to its close proximity to the North American border. This Bed-In lasted seven days, and throughout that time the couple sat up in bed in their nightclothes and opened their doors to the worlds' media, speaking to as many radio and TV journalists and political figures as they could. Lennon said in Montreal ..Henry Ford knew how to sell cars by advertising. I'm selling peace, and Yoko and I are just one big advertising campaign. It may make people laugh, but it may make them think, too. Really, we're Mr. and Mrs. Peace..

    Adorning the walls and windows of their hotel suite were numerous John Lennon artworks, mottos and slogans, all of which acted as visual aids to promote their message of Peace. Lennon said The whole effect of our Bed-In has made people talk about peace. We're trying to interest young people into doing something for peace. John and Yoko recognised the power that their fame and status could yield when promoting their peace campaign. Lennon believed himself to be a revolutionary artist, an artist first and a politician second. Lennon saw the opportunity to make an impression on the youth generation, in opposition to the Establishment who mocked and criticized John and Yoko for the 'publicity stunt' they believed they were enacting. This unusual French placard, was given by John to Ben Apfelbaum, a writer, art appraiser and Anti-war activist who frequently visited Suite 1742 during the Montreal Bed-In to speak to the Lennons about their Peace campaign. It's particularly significant that this placard features in the footage which John and Yoko organised of the Montreal event. In their film [not released until 1990] Yoko Ono can be seen signing this very placard, while John playfully signs her white night-dress, shortly before the couple are filmed leaving the hotel room. Apfelbaum was apparently given the placard by John directly as they were packing up Suite 1742, Apfelbaum then sold this placard to the current vendor some time later. This is the first time that this unique historic placard with its rare irrefutable provenance has ever been offered at auction.

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    COLEMAN, Ray John Ono Lennon; Volume 2 1967-1980 London; Sidwick & Jackson, 1984, pp 64-74
    John Lennon In His Own Words complied by Miles, London; Omnibus, 1980, pp 77-80
    The U.S. vs John Lennon; Artists. Humanitarian. National Threat Paramount, 2006
    Give Peace A Chance Bag One Productions, 1990