A painting of Morocco’s Marrakesh city by Winston Churchill and owned by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has been sold for more than $11.5 million in London. The price tag of wartime painting by the former British Prime Minister makes it the most expensive after fees.
The “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” was sold by Jolie Family Collection on March 1, 2021. The buyer wasn’t immediately identified.
The pre-sale estimate of the “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” was $2.7 million to $3.5 million, according to CBS. The previous record price for the painting was just under 1.8 million pounce.
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Churchill gifted the painting to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II when the two leaders met in Morocco and it found its way into the hands of Jolie when it went up for sale in New Orleans in 2011.
Auction house Christie’s called the painting “Churchill’s most important work.” “Aside from its distinguished provenance, it is the only landscape he made during the war,” it added, according to the BBC.
According to CBS, the artwork was the one painting the famed British wartime leader completed during the 1939-45 conflict. Churchill completed it after the January 1943 Casablanca conference where he and US President Roosevelt planned the defeat of Nazi Germany. At the time, much of Morocco was a French protectorate.
“You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech,” Churchill is believed to have told Roosevelt. “I must be with you when you see the sunset on the Atlas Mountains.”
The painting depicts the Moroccan City of Marrakesh and captured the “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque.”
“Churchill first visited Morocco in 1935 where he fell in love with the quality of light there,” said Nick Orchard, head of modern British art at Christie’s in Londo, according to CNN. “He felt that his paintings of the country were among his best.”
CNN claims Churchill began painting around age 40 after a failed naval attack during World War I that cost him his title of First Lord of the Admiralty. He reportedly produced over 500 works in his lifetime.
Besides “Tower of Koutoubia Mosque,” his two other works of his were sold at the Christie’s “Modern British Art” evening auction. They include the “Scene at Marrakech,” which was sold for $2.6 million, and “St Paul’s Churchyard,” sold for nearly $1.5 million.