The Jim Morrison Triptych

Courtesy of artist Thomas E. Breitenbach comes an intriguing missive from Jim Morrison; legendary frontman of The Doors and owner of stationery so cool it’s a wonder he didn’t send more letters. Breitenbach, a long-time fan of Morrison, had previously written to him and offered to paint an album cover. Below is the singer’s response. Biographer Jerry Hopkins later said of the letter: ‘…the beach scene he described is a variation on a dream he told several people he had. The center would be an extension of his interest in chaos and insanity, I suppose, and the final panel refers to a scene from his childhood when he and his father came upon an overturned truck, dead and injured Indians scattered “on dawn’s highway, bleeding.” (See the lyric of “Peace Frog.”)’.

Jim Morrison died less than a year later and the finished triptych wasn’t used. It can be seen at Breitenbach’s website here, along with other related material. Many thanks for his permission to show the letter.

Transcript follows.


The Doors


Thomas E. Breitenbach
619 Planner Tower
Univ. of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Dear Mr. Breitenbach:

Thank you for your interest. Maybe we can do something.

Try doing a triptych. The left panel depicting a radiant moon-lit beach and an endless stream of young naked couples running silently along the water’s edge. On the beach, a tiny infant grins at the universe and around its crib stand several ancient, old people.

The center — a modern city or metropolis of the future at noon, insane with activity.

The last panel — a view through a car windshield at night on a long straight desert highway.

If you come up with something related to these themes within the next four or five months I’m sure I can use it.

Thanks again.



James Morrison