In the summer of 1966, The Beatles were in the midst of a tour during which they played five concerts at the famous Japanese arena, Nippon Budokan. During breaks between performances, they hid in the presidential suites of the Tokyo Hilton hotel, creating a work of art that became known as ‘Images of a Woman.’
This painting, considered by some experts to be the only piece of art created collaboratively by all four members of The Beatles, will be up for auction at Christie’s in New York on February 1.
Estimated to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000, ‘Images of a Woman’ will ‘crystallize a magical moment in Beatles history,’ according to Christie’s specialist Casey Rogers, as reported by CNN.
During their 1966 tour, The Fab Four spent around 100 hours in Japan. Besides their performances (except for two instances when Paul McCartney and John Lennon escaped with members of their entourage to tour Tokyo’s sights), the group stayed in their hotel room as directed by local authorities concerned about their safety. The Beatles’ visit to the country drew both enthusiastic fans and protesters, with reports of threats from Japanese nationalists, including some dissatisfied with the Western rock group performing at an arena considered a spiritual home for martial arts.
According to Christie’s press release, a visitor gifted art supplies to the musicians. Soon, they gathered around a table with a blank sheet of Japanese art paper in the middle and a lamp roughly in the center. Each Beatle sat in a corner and drew something.
The Beatles were no strangers to visual arts. Lennon attended art school, and McCartney also studied the subject. George Harrison and Ringo Starr were said to draw ‘often and skillfully,’ as mentioned in Christie’s press release.
Each corner of the painting reflects an individual approach, with a wide variety of shapes, colors, and even types of paint used. In the center, where the lamp once stood, are the signatures of the musicians.
The Beatles never officially named their artwork, but it became known as ‘Images of a Woman’ in the late 1980s when a Japanese journalist spotted female genitalia in Paul McCartney’s quadrant, according to Christie’s.