Mick Jagger 'drug arrest art' could sell for £15k

Bonhams is embracing the 1960s on March 7, when viewing opens at its New Bond Street galleries for two sales: a specialist auction of Pop and Op Art, and the selling exhibition "Pure Sixties. Pure Bailey", a collection of David Bailey's iconic photographs from the 60s.

An outstanding selection of works inspired by popular culture, dating from the 1960s onwards, will go on sale in the Pop and Op Art auction, to be held at 2pm on Wednesday March 10 in New Bond Street, London.

Op Art is recognised for its "optical effects" on the spectator, with pioneers including the British artist, Michael Kidner.

The sale features works by Richard Hamilton, a key figure in English Pop Art and co-founder of the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The organisation was key to English Pop Art's development.

From the 1960s Hamilton was represented by Robert Fraser and produced a series of prints entitled Swingeing London based on Fraser's arrest, along with Rolling Stones icons Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, for possession of drugs.

The sale includes The Release from this series, dated 1972, with an estimate of £10,000-15,000.

No satisfaction? Robert Fraser's Pop Art depiction of Mick Jagger's arrest
for drugs possession (£10k-15k)

After their arrest, William Rees-Mogg asked the infamous question "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" in an editorial piece in the Times which was critical of the prison sentences awarded to the musicians.

The article concluded that, "If we are going to make any case a symbol of the conflict between the sound traditional values of Britain and the new hedonism, then we must be sure that the sound traditional values include those of tolerance and equity.

"It should be the particular quality of British justice to ensure that Mr Jagger is treated exactly the same as anyone else, no better and no worse.

"There must remain a suspicion in this case that Mr Jagger received a more severe sentence than would have been thought proper for any purely anonymous young man."

Rees-Mogg's article is thought to have contributed to the success of Jagger's and Richard's subsequent appeal.

"The 1960's were a pivotal decade for the worlds of art and design, and the following five decades have shown that Pop and Op art were two of its most influential and enduring movements," said Alan Montgomery, Senior Specialist in the Contemporary Art and Design Department at Bonhams.

"This sale includes some of the most iconic images from that period, as well as more recent examples of Pop and Op which demonstrate the importance of its legacy, both in Europe and the United States.

"From the glamour of Brigitte Bardot and Andy Warhol to the delicate optical art of Vasarely, this sale is full of fabulous 1960's style, a style which is now very much back in fashion," said Montgomery.

The auction will coincide with the selling exhibition "Pure Sixties. Pure Bailey", providing double the opportunity to experience the swinging sixties.

If you are on the look-out for swinging '60s and '70s pop memorabilia, you may also be interested to know that four signatures of "the biggest band of the '70s" are also currently available to autograph collectors...


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