The Entire Stuart Sutcliffe Collection, Original Bassist of The Beatles, Is Up for Sale

He left the band early on to pursue a career as a painter

Stuart Sutcliffe, who passed early in his life at the age of 22 (1962), was the original bassist for The Beatles, but who left the band early on to pursue a career as a painter.

His estate comprises a collection that numbers hundreds of objects, comprising artworks, letters, notes, photographs, memorabilia, and other ephemera. It encompasses some 400 paintings, sketches, and drawings, and 200 other artifacts. Among them, the artworks reveal Sutcliffe’s burgeoning abstract and figurative style across life studies and densely impasto-ed canvases.

Now the estate’s steward Diane Vitale has announced that the estate is currently seeking a buyer to acquire its entire collection— “a trove that doesn’t just capture an abstract artist in bloom, but logs the formation of one of the world’s most beloved bands.”

The collection was begun and built by Sutcliffe’s younger sister, Pauline Sutcliffe, over the decades following his untimely death in the 1960s. Her main goal, Vitale emphasized, was to establish her brother as an artist apart from the Beatles. This, she accomplished with exhibitions of his work, the 2001 book The Beatles’ Shadow, and Sutcliffe’s inclusion in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pauline died in 2019 and since then, Vitale has been single-handedly administering the estate as CEO and fulfilling Pauline’s other wish: to keep the collection intact. It remains top of mind as she embarks on its sale.

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