Perhaps the only piece of art made and signed by each of the Fab Four, "Images of a Woman" was bought by a Japanese collector in 1989 and is going on auction next week.
While on near lockdown at the Tokyo Hilton in 1966, John, Paul, George, and Ringo painted "Images of a Woman." The Fab Four were in Japan to play three shows at the famed sumo-wrestling venue Budakon. But local authorities were so overwhelmed by Beatlemania that the Englishmen had to hole up in their hotel whenever they weren't performing.
According to photographer Robert Whitaker, who was chronicling the tour, band manager Brian Epstein brought the guys a bunch of art supplies to help pass the time. Then Epstein set a large canvas on a table and placed a lamp in the middle. Each member of the group set to work painting a corner—comic strippy for Ringo, psychedelic for John. Whitaker later commented that he "never saw them calmer, more contented than at this time... They'd stop, go and do a concert, and then it was 'Let's go back to the picture!'" It was an almost Zen-like respite during one of the most electric world tours in music history.
Before leaving Japan the Beatles signed their names within the blank circle where the lamp had stood. It's one of the few, if not the only, painting in the world that they made together, and allegedly the only one signed by them all. The boys gave the painting to Tetsusaburo Shimoyama, an entertainment industry executive and chairman of the Beatles fan club in Tokyo. After Shimoyama died, his wife opened a memorabilia shop specializing in Beatles collectables, and she auctioned off "Images of a Woman" in 1989. And then it was gone.