The Only Painting Jointly Created by the Beatles Sold to the Tune of $1.7 Million
The sale of the work far exceeded its high estimate.
A painting created by the four members of the Beatles while on tour in Japan in 1966 has sold at auction for $1.7 million.
The painting, known as Images of a Woman, was part of Christie’s The Exceptional Sale on February 1 and made nearly triple the high presale estimate of $600,000. It is the only work that each bandmate—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and George Harrison—created together. Their signatures sit in the middle of the work, which is visually divided into quadrants where each musician had doodled.
The painting was made over two nights in the presidential suite of Tokyo’s Hilton Hotel and its creation was documented by photographer Robert Whitaker, who would later say that the musicians were excited to work on it between concerts. “I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time,” he recalled.
The band members created the work with acrylic and watercolor on Japanese art paper gifted by their tour promoter. The group’s Tokyo tour, between June 29 and July 3, 1966, took place just months before the Beatles played their last concert together (apart from their infamous rooftop gig in 1969).
“It’s memorabilia, it’s a work of art, it appeals to probably a much larger cross-section of collectors,” Christie’s specialist Casey Rogers told CNN after the sale. “It’s a wonderful piece of storytelling.”
Other lots in the sale included a 1965 Gretsch electric guitar once owned by Elvis Presley, which sold for $302,400, failing to meet its estimate. Also featured at the auction was gold crocheted vest owned by Janis Joplin, which the songstress wore it in a photoshoot at the Chelsea Hotel, an image from which graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1976. Tagged with a $30,000–$50,000 estimate, the vest did not find a buyer.
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