Leonard Norman Cohen is a legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, novelist, and artist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, depression, sexuality, loss, death and romantic relationships. Cohen’s most famous song, “Hallelujah“, was first released on his studio album Various Positions in 1984. 

On November 7, 2016 the world lost this legendary poet/musician/trailblazer.  What few knew is that he was also a talented visual artist who painted as a form of meditation.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death, a long-time acquaintance, Esmond Choueke, has decided to give Cohen fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bid on the only original painting that Cohen ever sold. In speaking with him we learned Esmond’s story and how he won this painting at auction. Esmond is a wonderful gentleman from Montreal that has been a journalist and photographer for many years. His work can be found in publications such as Newsweek, New York Times and People. Leonard and Esmond met one fateful night at a local bar on Crescent Street in the McGill University part of town, where their journey as friends began. Crossing paths on a movie set, Esmond was able to take a never-before-seen picture of Leonard, which he claims is the best looking picture of Leonard he’s ever seen. That picture along with the stunning painting by Cohen are all part of the one of a kind NFT. 

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The untitled painting was originally bought by this Montreal native at a charity art auction in 1989, after Cohen donated it to benefit the Salvation Army. It’s the only known original artwork that Cohen ever sold. The piece, signed by Cohen, is a reflection of his joyous mood at that time, a time when he knew he was at the top of his game as a musician and poet. The Leonard Cohen estate has sold lithographs and posters of Cohen’s artwork, but never an original. 

At this auction it was timing and fate that enabled Esmond to acquire this rare and historical piece of art. The art auction crowd consisting of artists, collectors, and famous singers like Robert Charlebois were all there to try and get this piece. In an amazing course of events, and maybe a little bit of luck, Esmond was able to win Leonard’s artwork. The intimate details of this story cannot be revealed to the reader but if you win you will get a chance to meet Esmond and relive some of Leonard Cohen’s favorite places and stories.        

The piece will be auctioned as an NFT with the winning bidder receiving a number of valuable unlockables including: 

  1. The original artwork will be shipped to the buyer along with a certification of authenticity.
  2. A never-before-seen photo of Leonard Cohen. It was taken in 1978 by an award-winning internationally renowned photographer who was a long-time Cohen acquaintance. The negative has been stored in a vault for more than 40 years until now.
  3. A luxury trip for two for three days and three nights to Montreal that will feature a guided tour of his hometown, including the bars and restaurants he frequented and the bohemian neighborhood “The Plateau” where he drew much of his creative inspiration and where he owned a home until his death. 

The Leonard Cohen NFT Auction is taking place now until December 1 on the world’s largest NFT auction site, Opensea.io   The reserve price is 45 Ethereum. This auction is being sponsored by SABEAN Media & IH Productions.

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