Stuart Sutcliffe sells a painting to John Moores

Sunday 17 January 1960

The Summer Painting, 1959

The second Biennial John Moores Exhibition opened at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery on 17 November 1959. Among the exhibits was Summer Painting by Stuart Sutcliffe, an art school student and friend to John Lennon.

The painting was bought by John Moores himself for £65 when the show ended on this day. The sale was a coup for a nascent artist, and a considerable sum for the time. He was persuaded by Johnny and the Moondogs to buy a Hofner President bass guitar.

Stuart Sutcliffe was a friend of John’s from art college. Stuart had sold a painting for £65. So what do you do with £65? We all reminded him over a coffee: ‘Funny you should have got that amount, Stuart – it is very near the cost of a Hofner bass.’ He said, ‘No, I can’t just spend all that.’ It was a fortune in those days, like an inheritance. He said he had to buy canvases or paint. We said, ‘Stu, see reason, love. A Hofner, a big ace group… fame!’ He gave in and bought this big Hofner bass that dwarfed him. The trouble was he couldn’t play well. This was a bit of a drawback, but it looked good, so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

Paul McCartney