The painting Images of a Womanbelieved to be the only painting created by the Beatles, was sold at auction “The Exceptional Sale” at Christie’s in New York for $1,744,000 (approximately 1.6 million euros). The competition between the bidders present in the room and connected by telephone, which increased the starting estimate by more than four times and reached one of the highest figures ever paid for Fab Four memorabilia, finally rewarded an anonymous collector which was celebrated by applause.
THE HISTORY OF THE PAINTING
The Beatles had painted the abstract work between late June and early July of 1966 in room 1005 of the Presidential Suite of the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, the luxurious confinement where they had spent most of their five-day tour of Japan. As explained by the BBC, outside the hotel room the band had in fact received two opposite poles of attention: on the one hand the adoration of the young admirers, sometimes expressed even in dangerous situations, on the other the hostility of the traditionalist Japanese who considered the Fab Four symbols of an invasive Western culture. The Japanese authorities had therefore guaranteed impenetrable security measures thanks to the detailed care of the organization of the five concerts and the provision of comforts in the hotel room. Here the group had received various gifts, including artistic materials such as brushes, watercolors and oil paints. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison had spread a sheet of Japanese paper on the table and had placed a ceramic lamp in the center to secure and illuminate the work surface. Precisely in that circular space the artists signed the work. “They stopped painting, went to do a concert, then it was ‘let’s go back to the painting!'” the photographer recalled Robert Whitaker, which documented the Beatles’ stay in the Japanese capital. “The Beatles gave up on tour two months after being in Tokyoand they never returned as a group,” the Beatles historian explained to Christie’s Mark Lewisohn. “This is one of the reasons why this painting is so special, because they never spent this kind of time together again”.