The song goes that you can’t always get what you want, but if what you seek is the artwork for the Rolling Stones famous logo, you’re in luck.
“The Tongue,” which originally was created as poster art by British graphic designer John Pasche for the band’s 1970 European tour, is one of more than 650 lots that will be offered Aug. 30 in Mastro Auctions’ Connoisseur Auction, presented live and online at www.mastroauctions.com. Bidding starts Aug. 11; the auction closes Aug. 29, according to www.mastroauctions.com.
“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this piece,” said Nick Dawes, vice president of live auctions and acquisitions at Mastro Auctions. “This is a world-class image of what many consider to be the world’s best rock and roll band and a true prize for the sophisticated pop culture collector.”
“The Tongue” was used as a logo on the inner sleeve of the Stones’ Sticky Fingers album. Pasche hand-painted the artwork in black gouache on light-gauge artboard, then overlaid the art with a semi-opaque drawing cel that caused the black gouache to transmit as gray. He detailed the cel in black along the tongue's center strip and right edge, as well as in the crevice of the mouth. Pasche submitted this artwork to the printer so that the trademark red color could be added in the production process, as was customary at that time.
How Mastro came to offer the piece for auction was serendipitous. Vice president Ron Oser’s son, Bodhi, had just published the coffee table book “Band ID” that focuses on the history of band logos. The first logo featured in the book is the Rolling Stones’ logo.
“When Bodhi finished the book, he sent a copy to John Pasche, the artist of the Rolling Stones’ logo. The artist contacted Bodhi and asked if he knew if anyone would be interested in buying or selling the logo,” Oser said.
Bodhi mentioned that his father worked for Mastro, and things fell into place from there. Estimated sale price of “The Tongue” is $150,000 to $200,000; the minimum bid is $75,000. It is accompanied by several extraordinary documents, including a 1970 letter on Rolling Stones stationery, in relation to the commissioning of the work. A letter from the artist also recounts the design’s journey through Rolling Stones history.
The piece already has drawn interest, but the parties wish to remain anonymous, Mastro officials said.