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Art paints Dylan in new light

Corner Flat by Bob Dylan

Artworks by Bob Dylan, from the singer-songwriter's Drawn Blank limited-edition print series, will be exhibited in Perth this week for the first time in Australia.

The rare showing of signed Dylan prints is expected to make a splash with fans and art collectors when it opens on Friday at Weatherby Fine Art at the QVI building in the CBD.

The American folk-rock legend created more than 300 drawings during his 1989-1992 world tour, published them in his book Drawn Blank and later reworked them in watercolour and gouache.

The Henri Matisse-style impressionist portraits, interiors, landscapes, still lifes, nudes and street scenes were done to "relax and refocus a restless mind", according to Dylan.

"I try to live as simply as is possible and was just drawing whatever I felt like drawing, whenever I felt like doing it," he says in the Perth exhibition catalogue.

"The idea was always to do it without affection or self-reference, to provide some kind of panoramic view of the world as I was seeing it at the time."

Dylan's British art publisher Washington Green has released about a dozen of these works in limited editions of 295 each year since 2008.

Darren Weatherby-Blythe, who also represents celebrity artists Ronnie Wood and Billy Connolly at his new Perth gallery, said he had secured 25 different Dylan works having worked with Washington Green for about 20 years.

All the works were signed by Dylan in pencil and range in price from $3250 to $12,500, Mr Weatherby-Blythe said.

The Drawn Blank series culminated in Dylan's first oil on canvas paintings in 2008, which fetched prices up to $1 million at London's Halcyon Gallery in 2010. An exhibition of pastel portraits by Dylan was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London last year.

Mr Weatherby-Blythe said Dylan saw these works as his visual legacy in the tradition of the French impressionist artists.

"Dylan has a massive love for impressionistic art and you can see Dufy and Matisse and Monet's style in him, with a Warhol influence," Mr Weatherby-Blythe said.

The exhibition opens on Friday at 6.30pm and runs until May 16.