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I want to hold your brush: Unique painting by all four Beatles heads to auction

The Beatles' 1966 painting, "Images of a Woman," will be up for sale at Christie's auction house in early 2024.
The Beatles' 1966 painting, "Images of a Woman," will be up for sale at Christie's auction house in early 2024. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2023
Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2023
By David Mouriquand
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Each Beatle reportedly sat at a corner, painting something different. It is considered the only artwork created collectively by the four band members.

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A 1966 painting by The Beatles, titled ‘Images of a Woman’, is set to go under the hammer next year, on 1 February, at Christie’s in New York.

The remarkable artwork, a colourful acrylic and watercolour abstract painting on paper, was made while the band were on tour in Japan. 

As the story goes, the Fab Four spent about 100 hours in Japan during their 1966 tour. The group stayed put in their hotel room at the behest of local authorities who were concerned about their safety, considering excitable fans and reports of threats from Japanese nationalists, who were not happy about a Western rock band playing areas considered spiritual for martial arts.

The Beatles arriving in Tokyo for their brief tour of Japan in 1966.
The Beatles arriving in Tokyo for their brief tour of Japan in 1966.Getty Images

The painting was conceived during the band’s retreat in the Presidential Suite of the Hilton Hotel in Tokyo, completed over two nights. It was overseen by photographer Robert Whitaker, who documented the process.

Each Beatle reportedly sat at a corner, painting something different. Whitaker observed, according to Christie’s release: “I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time.”

The Beatles' 1966 painting, "Images of a Woman"
The Beatles' 1966 painting, "Images of a Woman"Christie's Images Ltd. 2023

Each musician contributed their personal style to the painting: Ringo Starr’s small caricatures, George Harrison’s angular brushstrokes, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney primarily working with acrylic.

The painting is estimated to be worth between $400,000 and $600,000 (€362,600 - €544,000). 

It’s a rare glimpse into the artistic side of this iconic band – beyond the music, of course. It is considered the only artwork created collectively by the four band members, further enhancing its value and significance.

The auction, billed as ‘The Exceptional Sale’, will also feature other notable lots such as a vest worn by Janis Joplin, a gold medal from Bob Beamon’s Mexico ’68 Olympic Games, and a guitar owned by Elvis Presley.

Additional sources • Christie's

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