“I used to come here as a schoolboy,” McCartney said, referring to the days when he’d skip class and visit the gallery with friend John Lennon. “If I had said to John then, ‘I’m going to have an exhibition here one day,’ I think I know what he would have said. I’ll leave it to your imagination.”

A collection of 70 paintings, alongside photos and wood sculpture pieces, will be exhibited at the gallery from May 24 through August 1. None of the works, taken from his homes in Britain and the U.S., are up for sale.

“The life work of Paul McCartney is all about heart,” said museum curator Michael Simpson. “Love and passion are resonant themes in his music and so too now in his paintings. Without heart, art is not art; it is meaningless.”

And “heart” is an evident theme throughout the exhibition, starting with the first image that greets visitors, “Big Heart 1999.” The piece is one of the few pictures on view that McCartney has painted since meeting his soon-to-be-wife, Heather Mills.