A rare Winston Churchill painting that was gifted to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and eventually made its way into actor Angelina Jolie's collection has become the most expensive painting by the former British prime minister to sell at auction, fetching nearly £8.3 million ($11.5 million) after fees, CNN reports.
Rare Winston Churchill painting owned by Angelina Jolie smashes auction record
STEPANAKERT, MARCH 2, ARTSAKHPRESS: The work, "Tower of Koutoubia Mosque," was sold March 1 by the Jolie Family Collection and features the long shadows and warm tones of a sunset in Marrakech, Morroco -- a favorite subject of Churchill's to paint.
"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 London, where the auction took place. "He felt that his paintings 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 was £1.7 million ($2.7 million) in 2014 at Sotheby's London.
According to a source with knowledge of sale, 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 that Churchill made between 1939 and 1945, during World War II.
In January of 1943, after jointly attending the Casablanca Conference in Morroco to strategize against Nazi Germany, Churchill convinced Roosevelt to join him in nearby Marrakech and watch the sun drop behind the Atlas Mountains. Their brief sojourn together was memorialized by the painting, which Churchill created the very next day following Roosevelt's departure. After the conference, the two leaders demanded "unconditional surrender" from Germany, Italy and Japan -- a historic declaration that had a far-reaching impact on the war.