Angelina Jolie sold a rare painting created by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II of Marrakech, Morocco. Actor Brad Pitt gifted Angelina Jolie the only wartime painting Winston Churchill created. The sale of the painting tripled its estimate of £2.5 million ($3.5 million). Churchill’s previous record sale was £1.7 million ($2.7 million) which took place at Sotheby’s London in 2014.
Churchill painted “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” in Marrakech, Morocco, after attending the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. During this summit, he and then the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt discussed strategies on how to defeat Nazi Germany. Churchill then gifted the painting to Roosevelt.
Nick Orchard, head of modern British art at auction house Christie’s claimed, “It is the only work that Churchill painted during the war, perhaps encouraged by the recent progress made by the Allies in what he considered to be one of the most beautiful countries he had encountered.”
Orchard added that the painting is “arguably the best painting by Winston Churchill,” and highlights the friendship between Churchill and Roosevelt.
“The gifting of the work to Roosevelt underlines the fact that Churchill held the American President in such high regard and points to their joint efforts in guiding the Allied powers to the outcome of the Second World War.”
Antique dealer Bill Rau, who owned the painting previously, told CNN the painting was gifted to President Roosevelt’s son, who then sold the piece to a filmmaker in the 1960. According to Rau, the painting ended up in New Orleans, where it was kept in a local family’s closet for over 50 years before the step-daughter of the family inherited the work and contacted his gallery, M.S. Rau.
Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque depicts the very moment the two world leaders shared as they viewed the majestic landscape of Marrakech as the sun set over the Atlas Mountains. “To know Churchill gifted the painting to FDR after their time together excited me even more,” Rau told CNN.
Churchill painted several scenes in Morocco before the war began; however, this is the only known work he made between 1939 and 1945. The artwork is scheduled to go on sale on March 1st, 2021.