Angelina Jolie sells at auction a painting of Churchill, record gross: over 9.57 million euros

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LONDON – Angelina Jolie collects 8,285,000 pounds, including commissions (equal to 9,577,460 euros), at auction at Christie’s in London for a painting made by Winston Chruchill put up for sale by her after the divorce from the actor Brad Pitt, with whom he had purchased it.

The painting was the only painting executed by the British Prime Minister during the Second World War and was donated by Churchill himself to the American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945).

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The work entitled “The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque”, made in January 1943, started from an estimated £1,500,000 and was the focus of a heated race to the top between four collectors.

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In the end the new owner paid five times the estimate.

The oil canvas marked the new highest price for a work of Churchill. The previous record was £1.8 million, set by Sotheby’s in 2014 for “The Goldfish Pond at Chartwell” (1932).

“The tower of the Koutoubia mosque” was purchased in 2011 by the actress Angelina Jolie and her then-husband: the couple has collected numerous paintings, including works by Banksy and Neo Rauch.

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Before entering the collection of the famous film couple, the painting was owned by Rososevelt’s son, Elliott, who then sold it by private negotiation. After the separation from Pitt, the painting entered the Jolie Family Collection.

A rare work for the interweaving in the history of the twentieth century

“The tower of the Koutoubia mosque” is considered “the most important painting of Sir Winston Churchill” because of its “interweaving in the history of the twentieth century”, noted in the catalog the British art historian Barry Phipps.

This simple and odorless landscape represents the minaret, symbol of the power of the Almohad dynasty (XII century), in the ramparts of the ancient city and leaning against the snow-capped mountains.

The Conservative leader began painting late, when he was 40 years old.  Fleeing the political storms and greyness of London, Churchill had discovered the light of the ochre city of Marrakech in the 30s, at the time of the protectorate French, where he had gone six times in 23 years.

A photograph of the vintage press shows Roosevelt and Churchill together admiring from taylor villa the sunset over the panorama that will inspire the painting.

In the same sale, another painting by Churchill went up for auction: a landscape of Marrakech was sold for 1.55 million pounds (1.8 million euros) while it was estimated between 300,000 and 500,000 pounds.

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