Churchill painting owned by Angelina Jolie sells for USD11.5M

LONDON (AP) — A Moroccan landscape painted by Winston Churchill and owned by Angelina Jolie sold at auction on Monday for more than USD11.5 million, smashing the previous record for a work by Britain’s World War II leader.

“Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” sold at Christie’s in London for GBP8,285,000 (USD11,590,715). The pre-sale estimate was GBP1.5 million to GBP2.5 million, and the previous record price for a Churchill painting was just under GBP1.8 million.

The image of the 12th-Century mosque in Marrakech at sunset, with the Atlas Mountains in the background, is a piece of both political and Hollywood history.

The only painting that Britain’s wartime prime minister completed during the 1939-45 conflict, it was completed after the January 1943 Casablanca Conference, where Churchill and United States (US) President Franklin D Roosevelt planned the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The two leaders visited Marrakech after the conference so that Churchill could show Roosevelt the city’s beauty. Churchill gave the painting to Roosevelt as a memento of the trip.

The painting was sold by Roosevelt’s son after the president’s death in 1945, and had several owners before Jolie and partner Brad Pitt bought it in 2011.

The couple separated in 2016 and have spent years enmeshed in divorce proceedings, amid speculation about the division of their extensive art collection.

Christie’s employees adjust an oil on canvas painting by Sir Winston Churchill painted in January 1943 called ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’ during an Art pre-sale photo call at Christie’s auction house in London. PHOTO: AP