Radhika Marya at CNN reports that a painting created by The Beatles will be auctioned in 2024. The artwork, known as Images of a Woman, was created in 1966 while The Beatles were on tour in Japan.
The Beatles were in the middle of a tour that had them play five shows in just three days at Japan’s famed Nippon Budokan arena — but when they weren’t performing, they were holed up in the presidential suite of the Tokyo Hilton creating a work of art that came to be known as “Images of a Woman.”
Some experts believe that this is the only piece of visual art that was created by all four Beatles, making the piece even more valuable.
The painting will be up for sale at Christie’s auction house in New York on 1 February, where it is estimated to fetch between $400,000 to $600,000. Christie’s specialist Casey Rogers says, “It’s memorabilia, it’s a work of art, it appeals to probably a much larger cross-section of collectors… It’s a wonderful piece of storytelling.”
It’s remarkable that the Fab Four found time to create this piece whilst on tour in Japan, since they spent only 100 hours in the country. CNN reports:
A visitor gifted them some art supplies, according to Christie’s press release; the band soon wound up around a table, with a blank sheet of Japanese art paper in the middle and a lamp roughly centered on top of it. Each Beatle sat at a corner, painting something different. Recordings for the album that would become “Revolver” played in the background.
The space on the paper where the lamp was originally placed now bears the signatures of all four Beatles, denoting which band member completed which section of the painting.
Each corner of the painting reflects a personal touch, with plenty of variety in shapes, colors and even the paints used. Harrison’s portion, which uses darker and angrier-looking brush strokes, seems to sprawl out the most from his corner, while Starr’s area is smaller and cartoonish. Both Lennon and McCartney worked primarily in acrylic, Christie’s noted, while Harrison and Starr relied more on watercolor.
The story of the painting does not end, of course, with its creation.
After its completion, the painting was acquired by Tetsusaburo Shimoyama, an entertainment industry executive who was then the chairman of Tokyo’s Beatles fan club. In 1989, it was purchased by record store owner Takao Nishino, The Atlantic reported in 2012, when Nishino in turn put “Images of a Woman” up for auction. (Nishino had, for some years, stored the piece under a bed, the magazine noted.)
After Nishino had decided to part ways with the painting, he told The Atlantic: “Originally, I thought it might be best kept as a piece of Japan’s cultural heritage; it has never left Japanese soil in 46 years. But the Beatles phenomenon was and remains a global one.”
With the Beatles remaining popular today, it’s no surprise that there is such a buzz about this painting going up for auction. This rare item would be a priceless addition to any Beatles memorabilia collection.
CNN report that Images of a Woman will be part of Christie’s 'Exceptional Sale', a yearly auction event held in New York, London and Paris. While you may not be able to pay half a million dollars for this artwork, you can still grab one of our limited edition Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite prints.
57 years ago today, on February 17 1967, The Beatles set out to record one of the most musically complex and avant-garde tracks of their illustrious career – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!