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Coverdown: Freewheelin 229 / Freewheelin-on-line take 31
 

freewheelin-on-line take 31 cover

 

In that wonderful kaleidoscope of people, places and things that goes under the somewhat biblical title of Chronicles Volume 1, Dylan has fingered many an artist who has caught his sight. One such artist is the Expressionist painter Chaime Soutine (1894–1944) who Dylan describes as ‘the Jimmy Reed of the art world’ (Chronicles page 175). 

Chaime Soutine was something of an oddball. The 10th child of a Jewish family living in a Lithuanian ghetto, he eventually took to the brush and settled in Paris in 1911. Being blessed with the same feverish passion that haunted Van Gogh, Soutine produced distorted and violently coloured paintings and on reaching fame he said that if he had failed in his attempt to become a great artist he would probably have given up painting to become a boxer! This sense of a fighting spirit no doubt saw Soutine through some troubling times, including in particular when he was pursued and persecuted by the Gestapo after the invasion of France. 

The gawky looking spires which make up the backdrop to this months cover are taken from Soutine’s 1933 painting ‘Chartes Cathedral’ which, in 1961 was hanging in the New York’s Museum of Modern Art just as a kid from out of town was bursting on to a nearby street. 

Standing in front of the cathedral is Doctor Robert in his university robes. I wonder if this is the kind of stage attire that Dylan will be displaying during his up coming tour of the universities in the States? Up above, Oh Mercy Dylan shows us that his hand, which had been recently ungodly injured in a freak accident, was now in a state of complete regeneration. He looks skyward, perhaps for inspiration, or perhaps he is pondering the question of whether you can become dead and grateful and, if you can, then do you automatically join the grateful dead?

 

Theo Casamegas

 
 
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