Is Bob Dylan Art a Good Investment?

The highly collectable works of an award winning musician...


You probably know Bob Dylan as an award-winning musician, but did you know he is also an established artist?

Widely considered one of the most important contemporary artists of his day, Dylan’s creative roots are spread into music, filmmaking, drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Dylan first began showcasing his work publicly in the 1960s and 70s through a number of album covers that he had designed himself, including his 1970 album Self Portrait which featured a human face, painted by Dylan. In 1973, his book Writings and Drawings was published, containing a collection of his lyrics and personal drawings. 

Bob Dylan Self Portrait 1970 album cover

Credit: Wikipedia

In 2007, Dylan had his first public exhibition, entitled the The Drawn Blank Series. The exhibition opened in Chemnitz, Germany, featuring a collection containing over 200 watercolours produced from his original drawings. This was also the first time Dylan’s work had ever been released for public sale, and since the pieces from the exhibition went to sale in 2008, Bob Dylan’s art became a subject of fascination both on the art scene and the wider world beyond.

In the years that have followed Dylan’s first public exhibition, he has exhibited in locations across America, Europe, and Asia, including London, New York, Miami, Copenhagen, Milan, and Shanghai. Between fans and art collectors, Dylan’s work has soared in popularity over the years, with several of his series being particularly sought-after and high in value.


Which pieces are the most collectable?


Bob Dylan (b.1941) American, 'Train Tracks' from The Drawn Blank Series (2020)

Sold for £3,400

The Drawn Blank Series 

This series was produced between 1989 and 1992 and was released for sale in 2008, after the exhibition of the same name. The collection contained Dylan’s own sketches that were reimagined using various different watercolour styles. Instantly, the collection became popular because they were the first pieces of Dylan’s work made available to buy, and those who were already fans of his music were often keen to purchase a piece of his artwork.

Dylan’s enjoyment of sketching stemmed from his life on tour. He admitted that it became a way for him to re-compose and relax amid the hectic lifestyle of a touring musician. One of the most popular pieces from The Drawn Blank Series is ‘Train Tracks’, because it symbolises his busy life and the constant journeys between gigs around the world. The personal link the piece has to Dylan as a musician has made it extremely sought after today, and the references to it that appear in some of his most iconic songs, including Freight Train Blue, reiterate its significance in Dylan’s life.


'Opium' from The Asia Series

Credit: Castle Fine Art

The Asia Series

The Asia Series opened in the Gagosian Gallery in 2011, containing 18 of Dylan’s pieces that were allegedly inspired by his time in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. However, the collection became surrounded with scandal and a huge talking point in the art world.  When the series was released, there had been some dispute over whether the paintings were truly based on Dylan’s own experiences of the Far East, or whether they were based on almost identical photographs that had been taken by Dmitri Kessel and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

'The Bridge' from The Asia Series

Credit: Castle Fine Art

It was later confirmed that the paintings had been based on the photographs by Kessel and Cartier-Bresson, but that Dylan had obtained a license in order to do so. However, his failure to credit or acknowledge the photographers upon the collection’s release was still heavily scrutinised, with many critics calling them works of plagiarism. Other critics supported Dylan’s work, arguing that art doesn’t have to be based on our own experiences, and that bringing a black and white photograph to life through painting is a form of art in itself.

Regardless of the controversy that first surrounded the series, it has since been considered a deeply influential collection, particularly due to the conversations it opened up about where the boundaries of art lie. It has proved so popular amongst collectors, that several of the original pieces have been rumoured to have sold privately for £300,000 each.


Bob Dylan (b.1941) American, 'Brooklyn Heights' From The Beaten Path Series (2019)

Sold for £2,000

The Beaten Path

The Beaten Path series is one of Dylan’s most popular because it depicts everyday America, capturing the mundane and ordinary scenes of the American landscape. The collection includes scenes of desolate gas stations, dismal motels, the streets of Downtown LA and New York, greasy diners, and oil shacks.

The series celebrates America and the familiar paths trodden by people going about their day-to-day routines. The congenial warmth of Dylan’s depictions continues to charm and captivate buyers not only in the States but across the world, with individual pieces selling for up to £20,000.


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