Artwork painted by The Beatles in 1966 sells for $1.7M, art business says

The Beatles broke up more than 50 years ago but their music — as well as their artwork — is still capturing attention across the universe.

A painting created by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr recently sold for more than $1.7 million, according to Christie’s, which is an art and luxury business.

They put their special stamp of quality over all things — and this includes a large, colorful painting they made in a Tokyo hotel room, an untitled artwork that became known as Images Of A Woman,” Christie’s noted on its website.

Christie’s said the band painted the image in 1966 in the Presidential Suite at Tokyo’s Hilton Hotel, described as “an opulent and lavish jail for the Beatles for most of the 100 hours they spent in Japan” from June 29 June to July 3.

Due to their popularity, fans hysterically swarmed them wherever they went. The opening of their first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” shows John, Paul and George being chased by a mob of star-struck young girls and women, with George falling face-first into the sidewalk.

To protect the Fab Four, as well as the public, they were confined to the hotel in Japan in between concerts.

The Beatles looked around for things to do and found them, and they received visitors, many of whom came bearing gifts — one bringing a top-quality set of art materials,” Christie’s noted.

The Beatles arranged in four chairs around a table, on which they laid out a substantial rectangular sheet of fine Japanese art paper,” according to Christie’s. “The chairs corresponded more or less with the four corners, and they placed a table lamp roughly in the center, both to weigh down the paper and light it. Working under the illuminated bulb, each man began to create from his corner and slowly work up towards the middle.”

An image of the painting shows each of their autographs in the center of the artwork.

“The work done, they removed the table lamp, the base of which had left a large white circle near the middle, and here each of them signed his name, adjacent to his art,” the website noted, adding that they then gave the painting to the official Beatles Fan Club in Japan.”

Now, it sold for nearly $2 million.

The news comes more than four decades since Lennon’s murder and two since Harrison’s death. It also follows the release of the first and only original Beatles recording of the 21st century. In November, “Now and Then” was released as a double A-side single with “Love Me Do,” the band’s 1962 debut single.

“Now and Then” comes from the same batch of unreleased demos written by Lennon in the 1970s, which were given to his former bandmates by Yoko Ono. They used the tape to construct the songs “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” released in the mid-1990s. But there were technical limitations to finishing “Now and Then.”

On Wednesday, a short film titled “The Beatles — Now And Then — The Last Beatles Song” was released, detailing the creation of the track. On the original tape, Lennon’s voice was hidden; the piano was “hard to hear,” as Paul McCartney describes it. “And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation.”

That changed in 2022, when the band — now a duo — was able to utilize the same technical restoration methods that separated the Beatles’ voices from background sounds during the making of director Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary series, “The Beatles: Get Back.” And so, they were able to isolate Lennon’s voice from the original cassette and complete “Now and Then” using machine learning.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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