Angelina Jolie sells painting Churchill gave as gift to FDR
LONDON (AP) – A Winston Churchill painting that is both a piece of political and Hollywood history is up for auction.
Christie’s auction house announced Monday that the Moroccan landscape “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” – a gift from Churchill to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt – will be available from Angelina Jolie next month with an estimated price of 1.5 to 2.5 million Pound is being sold. $ 2.1 million to $ 3.4 million).
The picture of the 12th century mosque in Marrakech at sunset with the Atlas Mountains in the background is the only painting completed by the British leader of World War II during the 1939-1945 conflict.
He painted it after the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 at which Churchill and Roosevelt planned the defeat of Nazi Germany. The two guides visited Marrakech after the conference so Churchill Roosevelt could show the beauty of the city.
“Roosevelt loved it and thought it was incredible,” said Nick Orchard, director of modern British art at Christie. He said Churchill captured the view in the “wonderful, impressive painting” and gave Roosevelt as a souvenir of the trip.
Churchill was an avid amateur artist who completed around 500 paintings after starting out in the forties. Orchard said that “the light in Morocco and over Marrakech was something Churchill was passionate about” and kept painting.
“He loved the dry air, the light, the sun and the way it played on the landscapes,” he said. “And that is absolutely visible here in this painting. You can see the long shadows and purples of the mountains and the deepening of the sky – the classic sunset time. “
The painting was sold by Roosevelt’s son after the president’s death in 1945 and had multiple owners before Jolie and partner Brad Pitt bought it in 2011.
The couple separated in 2016 and spent years involved in divorce proceedings, amid speculation about the division of their extensive art collection. They were declared divorced in 2019 after their attorneys asked for a forked verdict. This means that two married people can be declared single while other issues, including finances and custody, remain.
The painting is being sold by the Jolie Family Collection as part of Christie’s Modern British Art auction on March 1st in London.
Orchard said the auction house was confident it could set a new record for a Churchill work.
“The record auction price for Churchill is 1.8 million (pounds) for a painting that I don’t think is all that important,” he said. “And I think that’s probably his most important job.”
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