The Beatles Created a Painting While Touring in Japan

The Beatles Created a Painting Together Called "Images of a Woman" in 1996, While Touring Japan's Nippon Budokan Arena.

Dec 23, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Beatles
The group performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 1964. Via Wikipedia


The Beatles created a painting together in 1996, called “Images of a Woman”. Overall, the group members painted it while touring Japan’s famous Nippon Budokan Arena. The performers created the piece when they paused from music, at the presidential suite of the Tokyo Hilton. Now, the painting will go on sale at at Christie’s auction house in New York on February 1.


The Beatles Created the Painting Together?

The Beatles
The 1966 painting, “Images of a Woman,” will be up for sale at Christie’s auction house in early 2024. Via CNN


Some specialists claim this is the only piece of art created by all four Beatles. Or at minumum, it had signatures of all for artists. The predicted market value of “Images of a Woman” is between $400,000 and $600,000. Also, the piece “crystallizes a magic moment in Beatles history”, said Christie’s specialist Casey Rogers.


“It’s such a rarity to have a work on paper outside of their music catalog that is (a) physical relic, this tangible object with contributions from all four of The Beatles“, she said of the 21.5- by 31-inch painting. “As 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”. According to stories, the Fab Four visited Japan for approximately 100 hours while on tour in 1966.


The Budokan
The group at the Budokan. Via The Beatles


While in Japan, the group faced various threats from Japanese nationalists. They were unsatisfied because Western rock band performed in a venue regarded as an ethereal aspect centre for martial arts. Referring to a press release from Christie’s, a visitor gave them some creative materials. Before long, the group gathered around a table that had a lamp loosely positioned on top of a blank sheet of Japanese art paper in the centre.

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Who Did What

the beatles rooftop final concert
The Beatles’ Last Concert – screenshot from the 2021 “Get Back” documentary.


Every Beatle painted a distinct picture while seated in a corner. Robert Whitaker, a photographer, was present to document the team in action. “I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time”, he observed, according to Christie’s release. With a great deal of variation in shapes, colours, and even the paints employed, every area of the painting has an own touch.


Harrison’s section appears to extend the furthest from his corner and employs brushstrokes that are darker and more aggressive in appearance. On the other hand, Starr has a more cartoonish and narrower area. Both Lennon and McCartney worked primarily in acrylic, Christie’s noted. Harrison and Starr relied more on watercolor. The signatures next appear in the centre, where the lamp formerly stood.


the beatles psychedelic
The Beatles in London, 1967, via Ultimate Classic Rock


Although the Beatles never gave their artwork a formal name, in the late 1980s it came to be known as “Images of a Woman”. At that time, “a Japanese journalist thought he could see female genitals in Paul’s quadrant,” according to Christie’s. “It’s all very much in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? It wasn’t the intention, necessarily, of the painting as it was being done. I think it was more fluid, it was more freeform and just the members expressing themselves”, Rogers said.












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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.