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Beatles' Only Painting, Images of a Woman, Sells for $1.7M at Auction

The Fab Four worked on the painting in July 1966 while on tour in Japan

<p>Michael Ochs Archives/Getty </p> The Beatles in 1964

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Beatles in 1964

A painting by the Beatles, called Images of a Woman, has sold to one lucky fan for $1.7 million.

The painting sold at Christie's in New York during its annual Exceptional Sale on Feb. 1, according to The Art Newspaper. The event is also held in London and Paris.

The piece was painted in July 1966 while the "Let It Be" singers were on tour in Japan. During their stay, they were locked down in the presidential suite of the Tokyo Hilton due to safety concerns by local authorities, according to a Christie's lot essay. They received numerous gifts from visitors — one of which was a set of art materials.

Robert Whitaker, the tour's photographer, captured the moment they sat down to paint.

Related: Ozzy Osbourne Says Meeting Paul McCartney 'Was Like Meeting Jesus Christ'

"The Beatles arranged in four chairs around a table, on which they laid out a substantial rectangular sheet of fine Japanese art paper," the essay reads. "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."

The finished work was completed over two nights: "They'd stop [painting], go and do a concert, then it was 'Let's go back to the picture!'’ Whitaker said in the essay. "I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time."

The painting remained unnamed until the late 1980s, when a Japanese journalist said he saw female genitals in Paul McCartney's quadrant.

Images of a Woman was first acquired by Tetsusaburo Shimoyama, an entertainment industry executive who was then the chairman of Tokyo’s Beatles fan club. Then, in 1989, the painting was purchased by Takao Nishino, a record store owner, who put the work up for auction in New York in 2012 and was acquired by Tracks Ltd UK, a Beatles memorabilia dealer.

In November, the Beatles released "Now and Then," the final song to feature all members of The Fab Four. When McCartney, 81, first teased the song to  BBC Radio 4’s Best of Today, he explained that the bandmates used technology filmmaker Peter Jackson developed while working on the 2021 docuseries Get Back, helping to isolate and de-mix old audio. 

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