Coverdown: Freewheelin 230 / Freewheelin-on-line take 32

freewheelin-on-line take 32 cover


In Chapter 3 of ‘Chronicles. Volume 1’ – the chapter with the wonderful title of ‘New Morning’, Dylan writes about the idyllic summers he spent with his family at East Hampton, Long Island as the sixties turned slowly into the seventies: ‘I started painting landscapes there. There was plenty to do. We had five kids and often went to the beach, boated on the bay, dug for claims, spent afternoons at a lighthouse near Montauk, went to Gardiner’s Island, hunted for Captain Kidd’s buried treasure - rode bikes, go karts and pulled wagons - went to the movies and the outdoor markets … drove over to Springs a lot where de Kooning had his studio’. 

I doubt that Dylan, who at the time was craving anonymity, ever went knock,knock, knocking on de Kooning’s door but if he did then he may have spotted the giant canvass that forms the backdrop to this month’s Freewheelin cover. Whether the two artists ever met is not recorded but I have reunited them anyway. 

Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) was born in Rotterdam and started living in America in his twenties. He was a leading light in the American art movement of the 1940’s known as Abstract Expressionism which also spawned other luminaries such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothco. Paintings from this genre are easy to look at but hard to define because Abstract Expressionism is the artist expressing a deeply felt emotion by the use of form and colour on canvas. It is a non-representational, or non objective art which means that there are no concrete objects in the picture. 

Judging by the overuse of reds in the study on the cover, the artist was probably full of rage and anger on the day that he created this masterpiece. In contrast, the monochrome look of contentment in Dylan’s eyes says that he is at one with his family, with nature and with his God. If you look closely at Dylan’s face you will see that there is a kiss-curl above his left ear which has formed itself into a perfect circle of love, peace and harmony. 

You will also see that dogs are back on the cover and this one, called Thomas, looks you straight in the eye and impudently barks ‘If you believe all this crap then you are just as likely to believe in the notion that a dog can talk!’.


Theo Casamegas