McCartney Times

Pauline Sutcliffe

Pauline Sutcliffe talks about her late brother, Stuart Sutcliffe, during a party opening the exhibit on the former Beatle at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland  Monday, May 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Pauline Sutcliffe talks about her late brother, Stuart Sutcliffe, during a party opening the exhibit on the former Beatle at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Monday, May 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Pauline Sutcliffe
He was one of the original Beatles. He was right there onstage with John, Paul, George and Pete Best in their early days in England and Hamburg, Germany as well.

John once said “I looked up to Stu. I depended on him to tell me the truth. Stu would tell me if something was good and I’d believe him.” Yoko remarked “I felt I knew Stuart because hardly a day went by that John did not speak about him.”

Stuart Sutcliffe left The Beatles in 1961 to study art. Just a year later, on April 10th 1962, Stuart Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage. He was 21 years old. Stuart Sutcliffe’s contribution to The Beatles has long been ignored. It was Stuart Sutcliffe who was the first Beatle to wear a collarless jacket onstage. Stuart Sutcliffe was also the first Beatle to wear his hair in the famous Beatle hairstyle. And, it was Stuart Sutcliffe who came up with the idea of naming the group The Beatles.

Pauline Sutcliffe, Stuart Sutcliffe’s sister doesn’t grant many interviews. She did however, agree to talk to us about her brother’s life, his legacy, his artwork and The Beatles.

Q – Pauline, you’ve lived in the States for four and a half years now and you call Long Island home?

A – Yes, I do.

Q – What do you do in Long Island? What is your day to day life like?

A – (laughs) I get up, I make coffee…no…I’m here for a number of reasons. Number one, I adore the place. I am semi-retired now. As you know, I’m the sole executor of the Stuart Sutcliffe Estate and I have brought the collections out here with me where I can manage them now and put more energy and effort into them. I’m also working on a number of exhibitions of the work and at this stage in life, I’m letting more of the work be offered for sale, which, in the past I let some pieces go for sale, but mostly did exhibitions for people to come and have a look at the work. I’m also putting together another book and I’m also co-authoring yet another book, with another colleague. So, I have a very busy time out here. There’s also an exhibition that’s being created for 2008 for Liverpool, who have been appointed European city of culture and they’re doing a retrospective of his work, which is one of the keynote exhibitions for the prestigious year of European city of culture. So, that’s going on. The director of Liverpool University is coming out yet again, in two more weeks time to put the ribbons on all of that. He’s been out a few days before to put that all together. So, I have a very busy life and a very busy time. I’ve just been out at business meetings for four hours today.

Q – Who’s buying Stuart’s art? Is it individuals or a company like Hard Rock Cafe?

A – There’s two collections: the artifacts and memorabilia and then there’s the fine art. Now, Hard Rock has bought some of the stuff through Sotheby’s over the years. They bought his guitar some time ago. Sales are mostly through commercial exhibitions or privately. Recently, with a colleague now who helps run the Stuart Sutcliffe Estate, we now have a website for Stuart. We’re starting to sell some pieces, both fine art and art and artifacts and memorabilia through the website. (

Q – You’re telling me, you’re selling your brother’s original paintings or are you selling re-prints?

A – Originals. I do very, very small limited editions of maybe one or two images now and again. But right now, we’re in the business of selling some originals.

Q – Now, how can you do that? Don’t you want to keep them?

A – Well, how long have I had them, Gary?

Q – Maybe, forty-five years.

A – It’s been a long time. (laughs) I do have my own private collection that isn’t for sale and then I have the museum collection that’s been all around the world for years. But, I’m now ready to start to sell because he’s widely known now. His work is widely known. Lots and lots of people have seen it. So, I now feel able to start to let it go into private hands. Tell me, why did you want to interview me?

Q – Stuart Sutcliffe has always been this mysterious guy in the history of The Beatles. He’s mentioned of course, but you never come away with an insight into who he really was. It’s my hope that this interview will provide that insight.

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