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TO JANUARY 20
Stuart Sutcliffe isn’t the only original Beatle who didn’t make it into the Fab Four, but unlike ousted drummer Pete Best, he was a romantic figure—withdrawn and handsome, he reminded people of James Dean; a gifted painter, he quit the band for art’s sake. Twenty-one-year-old Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962, just months before the Beatles hit it big with “Love Me Do.” Since then, his family has devoted itself to gaining recognition for Sutcliffe’s art, a mission hampered by the understandable assumption that they’re simply out to cash in on the Beatles connection. His work is their best defense: The pieces exhibited in “Stuart Sutcliffe: Paintings and Works on Paper” display an unmistakable talent. The most striking of the works collected here—all produced between 1957 and 1962 and many bearing creases, frayed edges, or water damage—are Sutcliffe’s mixed-media collages, which layer paint atop shapes cut from German newspapers. The show also includes large abstract oils, watercolor, charcoal, and pen-and-ink figure drawings, and a discreet smattering of Beatles paraphernalia. At the Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. (202) 333-1180. (Nicole Arthur)