Honouring work of ‘Fifth Beatle’ Stuart Sutcliffe

St Helens Star: A picture of Stuart posing, used for exhibition promotion in Hamburg and around the world.Images courtesy of Pauline Sutcliffe & Diane Vitale / The Stuart Sutcliffe Estate. A picture of Stuart posing, used for exhibition promotion in Hamburg and around the world.Images courtesy of Pauline Sutcliffe & Diane Vitale / The Stuart Sutcliffe Estate.

THE man they call the Fifth Beatle, who “fell in love with art” at Prescot Grammar School, is to have work displayed in a charity exhibition.

Stuart Sutcliffe, who attended the school in the 50s, will have his work honoured at the Museum of Liverpool this month alongside pieces from the likes of Yoko Ono, Sir Peter Blake and Noel Fielding.

Stuart was foremost an artist, poet and writer, with music taking second place in his life.

However, he was the bass player in the original five-man Beatles line up, which included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best.

But in 1960 when the Beatles began their famous Hamburg era, Sutcliffe would often find himself submerged in his art, as Donald Kuspit, professor of Art and Philosophy at New York University would put it.

His passion for ‘Abstract Expressionistic’ work eventually culminated in his exit from the group in July 1961.

His death from a brain aneurysm at the age of 21 came in April 1962 while studying at Hamburg College of Art, were he had been labelled as one of the college’s most gifted students.

The majority of Sutcliffe’s family live in St Helens and speaking to the Star, Stuart’s sister Joyce, of Eccleston, told of his passion for painting.

She said: “Stuart fell in love with art when he was at Prescot Grammar and then he never stopped.

“He had a small box-room in the house when we grew up and he was constantly painting. He went from Prescot to Liverpool Art College to Hamburg and didn’t stop painting the whole time.”

Curator of ‘Liverpool Love’, Christian Furr told the Star: “Almost all the artists involved have some connection with the city.

“Stuart’s piece is a beautiful work of art he did in Hamburg, which Pauline Sutcliffe (Stuart’s sister) kindly sent over from the States to us.”

Pauline, who is the sole owner of the Stuart Sutcliffe estate, now lives in America.

Christian added: “I really wanted to keep a musical thread through the collection of artists in the exhibition and I think we have a real diverse range on offer with something for everyone.”

Alongside the exhibition an auction is set to take place and ‘Liverpool Love’ will donate 45 per cent of the profits to Claire House Children’s Hospice.

As Sutcliffe’s work is deemed highly collectable, ‘Hamburg Work on Paper’ is expected to raise a considerable amount for the charity.

The exhibition will take place from September 28 till November 25, with the auction taking place on November 17.

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