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Painting Made by The Beatles Fetches $1.7M at Auction

Images of a Woman by The Beatles
“Images of a Woman” painting by The Beatles. Credit: The Beatles / Wikipedia / Fair Use

During their tour in Japan, The Beatles squeezed in time between shows to work on a special painting called Images of a Woman. This artwork, thought to be the only one created by all four Beatles together, was recently sold at Christie’s auction house in New York on February 1st.

Experts expected Images of a Woman to sell for around $400,000 to $600,000. However, during a phone chat, Christie’s specialist Casey Rogers said the painting captured a unique moment in Beatles history. Surpassing expectations, it sold for $1,744,000, nearly three times its highest estimate, as reported by CNN.

Rogers emphasized the uniqueness of the 21.5 by 31-inch painting, stating, “It’s such a rarity to have a work on paper outside of their music catalog that is [a] physical relic, this tangible object with contributions from all four of The Beatles.”

He highlighted that the painting holds significance as memorabilia and as a work of art, attracting a broader range of collectors. He described it as a “wonderful piece of storytelling.”

The Beatles
The Beatles. credit: wikimedia commons / Nationaal Archief cc by 3.0

The story behind Images of a Woman painting

During their 1966 tour in Japan, The Beatles spent approximately a hundred hours in the country. Apart from performing, Paul McCartney and John Lennon separately ventured out for sightseeing in Tokyo with their entourage on two occasions. However, for the most part, the group remained confined to their hotel room, as reported by CNN.

This was at the request of local authorities who were worried about their safety. The Beatles’ visit stirred up a mix of adoring fans and protesters.

Some Japanese nationalists expressed anger over a Western rock band performing at the Nippon Budokan arena, which they considered a sacred place for martial arts.

Christie’s press release says that The Beatles received a thoughtful gift of art supplies from a visitor during their stay. Intrigued by the gesture, the band gathered around a table in their hotel room.

In the center lay a blank sheet of Japanese art paper illuminated by a lamp. Each Beatle took a corner of the table and began painting something unique. As they worked, the background music filled the room with recordings for the album that later became known as Revolver, according to CNN.

“The Beatles were no strangers to visual art”

Photographer Robert Whitaker, represented by the band’s manager Brian Epstein, was present to capture the group in action. In Christie’s release reports, he noted, “I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time.”

The Beatles had a connection to visual art. Lennon had attended art school, and McCartney had also studied visual arts.

Additionally, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were skilled artists who drew “often and with plenty of talent,” as mentioned in Christie’s press release.

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