Leonard Cohen appeared at the Richard Goodall Gallery on 8 July 2007 to open his exhibition of limited edition prints. He was given a personal introduction by Manchester's most celebrated music maverick, Tony Wilson.
The singer, now 72 years old, looked fantastic. Relaxed, youthful and exuding charisma, he mingled with his admiring fans, each one eager for his autograph or to have their photo taken with him.
He seemed genuinely flattered that so many people had come along to see him. Grinning broadly, and wearing a peaked cap, double-breasted grey suit and suede shoes, he chatted with his admirers, moving along from picture to picture.
The reason he was here in Manchester was to launch this exhibition of limited edition prints, timed to co-incide with the Manchester International Festival. Like his music, they have a beauty in their simplicity, showing superb draughtsmanship and use of primary colours, often incorporating words from poems or maybe letters to friends or lovers.
There are self-portraits, female portraits and nudes, flowers, birds and other pictorial motifs. Each one has a red Chinese-style stamp, and at the bottom, his neatly written signature. All are individually numbered, framed under glass and in various sizes. Prices range from 1000 to 3000 pounds.
The pictures appealed to me on different levels. They are excellent in their own right, but the fact that they bear the hand-written signature of the world's most famous singer songwriters adds an extra dimension. You can't help but try and compare each picture to one of his songs or poems. The was a strong sense of Canada in the images, and in his personal presence at the exhibition too.
I find these pictures inspiring as they are produced by someone who is also active in writing and music. After seeing these prints I feel encouraged to try out some of my own artistic ideas again. Art should be inspirational and this certainly is.
The new Richard Goodall Gallery is on High Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter, about five minutes walk from Market St. It is accommodated on the ground floor of one of the recently-constructed apartment buildings, and with its plate glass windows on two sides, plush white interior, air conditioning and automatic window blinds, can only be described as 'state of the art' (No pun intended!).
It wouldn't look out of place in New York's Greenwich Village, a district with strong similarities to Manchester's Northern Quarter.
This new gallery is in addition to the existing Richard Goodall Gallery on Hilton Street, one of Manchester's most exciting places to see and buy art.
For more information on the sensational Leonard Cohen exhibition, and to buy limited edition prints online, go to www.richardgoodallgallery.com.
Read the article Who held a gun to Leonard Cohen's head? on the Guadrian Unlimited website.Written by Aidan O'Rourke