Bob Dylan Abstract Painting and Jimi Hendrix Tape Recording Headline RR Auction’s Marvels of Music Auction Smashing Estimates

by Brooke Kennedy

When Bob Dylan was off-stage, he was honing his talent for the paint brush, a profession he still continues well to this day. From his years spent in the small town Woodstock comes an abstract painting dating to circa 1968, sold for $196,156. The original recipient of this painting was Woodstock resident Sandy LePanto in exchange for making him an astrology chart. According to writer Anne Margaret Daniel, “The old arts community of Woodstock worked on the barter system then, and to a degree still does today; people trading their expertise and creative output, rather than exchanging money.”

Bob Dylan’s large and colorful abstract painting.
Bob Dylan’s large and colorful abstract painting.

The painting remained within the family ever since, and was rediscovered in the estate of Anthony LePanto, Sandy’s ex-husband.

Dylan has since strayed from his abstract roots with his recent subsequent visual work. These projects include his ‘Drawn Blank’ series (one of those paintings sold here at RR Auction in our December 2023 music auction), his ‘Mondo Scripto’ illustrated lyrics, and the ‘Deep Focus’ paintings created during the pandemic.

Like many rock n’ roll singers, Jimi Hendrix found inspiration in the sound fashion stylings of Little Richard. Unlike many artists, Hendrix had the opportunity to perform as a member of his back-up band, The Upsetters. Footage of this duo performing together is scarce, but RR Auction sold an original taping of their show at the Back Bay Theatre (formerly the Donnelly Theatre). The tape, a Scotch 190 reel, was made by Boston radio personality Little Walter DeVenne, who was able to gain access to some of the biggest stars of the era.

Scotch reel tape of Little Richard’s 1965 performance with Jimi Hendrix, complete with its original box. Sold by RR Auction for $51,644.
Scotch reel tape of Little Richard’s 1965 performance with Jimi Hendrix, complete with its original box. Sold by RR Auction for $51,644.

The set opens with Hendrix strumming alongside rock duo Don and Dewey, before the crowd is introduced to the main event. As Little Richard takes the stage he immerses the crowd in a show-stopping which included hit-after-hit: I Saw Her Standing There, Lucille, Send Me Some Lovin’, a medley of Rip It Up/Tutti Frutti/Jenny, Jenny, Shake a Hand, and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

Not too long after this performance, in the summer of 1965, Hendrix was fired from the group for several reasons including Hendrix’s tardiness, wardrobe, and extravagant stage tactics. Little Richard’s influence, despite their short and tense time together, helped bring out the Jimi Hendrix the world knows today. And, after Hendrix’s passing, Richard praised Hendrix’s talent in a clip from a 1973 documentary about the late guitarist.

This auction also offered a host of iconic bands along with individual artists. In addition to their music, the Beatles dabbled in the realm of film, appearing in five major motion pictures. During the launch party for their 1967 film Magical Mystery at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, a young cast member approached the band for their signatures. Those signatures, obtained on an opening booklet and EP record of the album for the film, would go on to achieve a realized price of $32,050.

Attractive display showing off the EP and the signatures.
Attractive display showing off the EP and the signatures.

That aforementioned cast member was Nicola Hale, credited in the offered booklet as ‘The Little Girl.’ In addition to the signatures of all four Beatles, the booklet is signed by six more party attendees: George Claydon, Shirley Evans, Victor Spinetti, and Derek Royle, filmmaker Peter Theobald, and pop singer Lulu, who famously scolded John Lennon for drunkenly flirting Pattie Harrison at the party. Interestingly, in Lennon’s inscription he spells the recipient’s name as “Nichole,” possibly due to his inebriated state.

Marvels of Modern Music also hosted a wealth of artifacts from other artists including a painting entitled ‘Oranges’ by bassist Dee Dee Ramone, Prince’s handwritten lyrics for the song ‘Unbeknownst 2 U,’ Johnny Cash’s custom-made star-and-moon outfit by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, and even a pink guitar signed by pop icon Taylor Swift.

Missed your chance to participate in this music auction? Saw any sale prices you liked? You still have another chance to sell your rock n’ roll rarities with us – our second semi-annual Marvels of Modern Music auction will be taking place this December. Or if you have a high ticket item, we can feature it in our live Remarkable Rarities auction – which highlights items we consider the best of the best – taking place in Boston, MA this September. Or, if you have a rare signature, our Fine autographs and Artifacts auctions take place every month to showcase the autographs across all categories. You can begin the process of selling with us now by calling 800-937-3880 or clicking the button to submit photos of your pieces for a free auction estimate.

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