Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bigger than God

Years ago I found "The Forger's Art", a book mostly about a famous case where an "artist" forged some "new" Vermeer's and successfully sold them.  One ended up in a National Museum of Art somewhere.  He was tried and found guilty, but he was somewhat redeemed for fooling the Nazi's, too. Besides reproductions of his really bad paintings (it's amazing they fooled anyone), there was also "The Disintegration of Faith" by Jan Van Toorop.  Immediately I spotted  The Beatles "Revolver" in it.  The more I looked, I became convinced there was a connection.
Where's John?
Where's John?

"Revolver" came out a few months after John Lennon was forced to publicly apologize for saying that The Beatles were "More popular than Jesus".  I got to thinking that quoting "The Disintegration of Faith" was an inside joke between John, and Klaus Voorman, the artist responsible for the cover, and a friend of his since the Hamburg days.  Any Art student at the time could have easily been familiar with it.
Eventually I emailed Klaus directly and asked about it.  I lost his response, archived who knows where, which while not unfriendly, essentially denied there was a connection, but in a manner that could be interpreted a number of ways . I remember it started with, "High, Alan".  So I wrote back, thanking him for answering, and with a promise not to continue harrassing him, but per chance he would enjoy seeing what I saw.  I attached what you see here, the area featuring the visual quote. It's really the drawing of John with the hand over his head, near the middle, in the lower right quadrant.  I never heard from Klaus again. Frankly I was surprised he answered me at all.


Chris Collins said...

That's a pretty insightful observation. And very cool that you talked to him at all!

Signtopia said...

Many, many artists, whether it's music or painting or drawing, often "borrow" from others. Aside from simple influence, some artists trust that the majority of folks never seen or heard of that which they "borrowed" from. Any step in a flagrant way would be deemed a parody or homage. Voorman's album art is more recognized than that which may have influenced him to create it and that is the ultimate desire.

dogbreath said...

Not looking for a fight (on ecumenical, journalistic or any other grounds), but didn't Lennon say "More popular than Jesus Christ" - sometimes (mis)quoted as "Bigger than Jesus" - rather than "Bigger than God"? That apart, a very interesting little article on the "Revolver" artwork and loved the backstory of your actually contacting Voorman. Cheers!

buzzbabyjesus said...

My bad! I confused the quote with The Rutles "Bigger Than Rod".

Bonnie Dawdy said...

Love the comparison in this artwork