Rare Winston Churchill painting kept in a NOLA family’s closet for over 5 decades recently sold for millions by Angelina Jolie
A unique painting by Winston Churchill that was given to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and ended up in a family home in New Orleans for about five decades before finally entering the collection on Monday, March 1st the actress Angelina Jolie had a record auction at Christie’s in London.
According to CNN, Churchill’s “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” is his most expensive painting to sell at auction, fetching nearly $ 11.5 million after fees.
The former British Prime Minister’s rare painting was sold by the Jolie Family Collection and depicts the long shadows and warm tones of a sunset in Marrakech, Morocco that was a popular motif for Churchill.
“Churchill first visited Morocco in 1935 where he fell in love with the quality of the light there,” said Nick Orchard, director of modern British art at Christie’s in London, where the auction was taking place. “He felt that his pictures of the country were among his best.”
The sale more than tripled its high estimate of £ 2.5 million ($ 3.5 million). Churchill’s previous record in 2014 at Sotheby’s London was £ 1.7 million (US $ 2.7 million), reports CNN.
The news agency went on to say that actor Brad Pitt bought Churchill’s sunset scene as a gift to Jolie in 2011. The couple separated in 2016 after two years of marriage.
“Tower of Koutoubia Mosque” is the only painting Churchill painted between 1939 and 1945 during World War II, according to CNN.
After Churchill jointly attended the Casablanca Conference in Morocco in January 1943 to find out how best to defeat Nazi Germany, he persuaded Roosevelt to join him in nearby Marrakech and watch the sunset behind the Atlas Mountains. Their brief visit together was remembered by the painting Churchill was doing the next day when Roosevelt was leaving.
After the conference, the two leaders of Germany, Italy and Japan called for “unconditional surrender,” a historic declaration that had a massive impact on the war.
Pitt acquired the painting from antique dealer Bill Rau, who said the painting eventually ended up in New Orleans, where it was kept in a local family’s closet for more than fifty years before a family member contacted his gallery, MS Rau.
“The painting shows the moment the two world leaders saw the majestic landscape of Marrakech as the sun set over the Atlas Mountains, and knowing that Churchill donated the painting to the FDR after their time together excited me even more,” said Rough said.
Churchill began painting as a hobby late at the age of about 40 after suffering a failed naval attack during World War I that cost him the title of First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill was very productive and produced over 500 works in his life.