After closing its doors three years ago for a major redevelopment project, London's National Portrait Gallery will open its doors in June 2023. And to celebrate the grand reopening, the museum has announced a spectacular exhibition program that includes never-before-seen photographs of The Beatles. Taken by Paul McCartney, they will be included in 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, which opens on June 28, 2023.
The photographs were taken by McCartney during the critical period when The Beatles rocketed to international success. Through his lens, McCartney takes us behind the scenes of “Beatlemania.” The intimate work gives insight into what it was like to go from performing locally in Liverpool to taking the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show with over 70 million people tuning in to watch.
The portraits, all taken with a 35mm camera, will also be included in a coffee-table book with the same name, also set to be released in June. The book will contain 275 photographs, which were culled from McCartney's private archive. Incredibly, the iconic musician had completely forgotten about the images, and they were only rediscovered in 2020 along with thousands of other photos from his archive.
“Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the haze of time,” McCartney shared. “This was exactly my experience in seeing these photos, all taken over an intense three-month period of travel, culminating in February 1964.”
But the Paul McCartney exhibition certainly isn't the only reason to take a trip to the National Portrait Gallery. The museum is also paying homage to pioneering female photographers, starting with Yevonde. She innovated the use of color photography in the 1930s and was a trailblazing British photographer throughout her 60-year career. Yevonde: Life and Colour will open on June 22, 2023.
Drawings by David Hockney and an exhibition for the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize round out 2023. In 2024, visitors can look forward to a major survey of African diasporic artists working in the UK and America, as well as an exhibition celebrating the artistry of Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron.