Bob Dylan – The Side Tracks Series

The auction of “Side Tracks, 18 May 1976, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2013)”, sold £32K, had the following footnote; “Side Tracks is based on Dylan’s most famous image, Train Tracks. Each one is hand embellished by the artist and is therefore unique. Each carries an individual date, city and country, based on concerts performed by Dylan from 1961-2013.”

This somehow does not quite agree how Dylan feels about his work. “Seeing many of my works years after I completed them is a fascinating experience. I don’t really associate them with any particular time or place or state of mind, but view them as part of a long arc; a continuing of the way we go forth in the world and the way our perceptions are shaped and altered by life.” -Bob Dylan. The Castle Fine Art PDF also has the following description “Each print in the series has been dated and named by location, evoking a specific time and place on Dylan’s continuous journey”

So much for the differing view point, let us have a look at the Series. CFA says in their PDF “Produced exclusively for Halcyon Gallery, Sidetracks is a running series of 327 unique prints, each hand embellished by Dylan. In each version, he uses the same coloured reproduction as his starting point, but the colour and texture vary depending on the brushstrokes, with each image a more nuanced version of the last.”

Located from different sources and gathered here are almost all of the Side Tracks, which were photographed and posted on the web. Now a grand total of 55 photos, finally compiled after a grand search. Studying these 55 images of the works attached, the following conclusions were drawn. The first keyword is “hand embellished”. Certainly very few of them have that characteristic. The first image [with the green frame] is the Orange print from the 2008 Train Tracks portofolio of 4, which seems to be the “starting point”. It is evident that all of these images also can be identified by the ‘small ear’ on the upper left corner as this does not appear on any other works from the Train Tracks series-excepting the formerly mentioned one from 2008. Now we can clearly see that the painting done on most of these prints go far beyond an embellishment. On a good note, it appears that each is almost an original painting. Of course, rightly so, the price will be steep that is if you are able to locate one available. Where the remaining 272 are, is not known at this time; privately sold, stored or even still waiting to be “hand embellished” by Dylan. One surmises, this would be quite a daunting task for him considering his recently surfaced difficulties even signing his prints. We will have to wait and see if more of these works will come to light.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.