Former British Prime minister Sir Winston Churchill’s painting The Tower of The Koutoubia Mosque painted in Marrakesh during World War Two, depicting the minaret of the mosque behind the ramparts of the old city with mountains in the background and tiny figures in front, owned by Angelina Jolie, has sold for £7, at the Christies auction in London. The sale almost four times the top pre-sale estimate and beat the previous record for a Churchill painting which was just under £1.8m.
A Christie’s spokesperson said “Churchills most Important work., Aside from its distinguished provenance, it is the only lands ape he made during the war”. Churchill, a keen painter, took inspiration from the Moroccan city and painted The Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque oil work following the Casablanca Conference in 1943. He went on to give the finished piece to fellow wartime leader, US President Franklin Roosevelt for his birthday. A second Churchill landscape, Scene in Marrakesh painted on his first visit to Morocco in 1935, previously sold for £1.5m. Jolie’s former partner Brad Pitt an avid art collector and, during their marriage the couple bought some notable works, including some by Banksy and Neo Rauch.
The painting eventually found its way into the hands of actress Angelina Jolie when it went on sale in New Orleans in 2011.
Christie’s said the sale figure with the commission was more than £8.2m. Two other Churchill’s paintings also went under the hammer, with the three works together fetching £9.43m.
Churchill, before entering politics was a career army officer and started to paint at the age of 40 and his passion for the translucent light of Marrakesh in the 1930s when most of Morocco was a French Protectorate. Churchill painted from the balcony o the city’s Villa Taylor, beloved by the European jet-set o the 1970s, after the historic conference in Casablanca, where the allies declared they would accept nothing less than Germany’s “unconditional surrender” in the war.