Winston Churchill Moroccan landscape painting owned by Angelina Jolie fetches $11.5 million

A Moroccan landscape painted by Winston Churchill and owned by Angelina Jolie sold at auction on Monday for more than $11.5 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 8.3 million pounds, smashing the predictions of 1.5 million pounds to 2.5 million pounds, as well as the previous record price for a Churchill painting of just under 1.8 million pounds, The Associated Press reported. It was the only painting completed by the British Prime Minister and amateur artist during WWII, he gave it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.a person standing in front of a television: FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 17 photo, Christie's employees adjust an oil on canvas painting by Sir Winston Churchill painted in Jan. 1943 called 'Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque' during an Art pre-sale photo call at Christie's auction house in London. Christie’s employees adjust an oil on canvas painting by Sir Winston Churchill painted in Jan, called ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’ during an Art pre-sale photo call at Christie’s auction house in London.

The work depicts a sunset over Marrakech’s largest mosque and is titled “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque.” The British wartime leader took President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to see it the day after the 1943 Casablanca Conference, where the allies mapped out how to defeat Nazi Germany. Churchill had to convince his U.S. counterpart to stay in Morocco an extra day and make the 150-mile drive to Marrakech.

Unlike nations, art knows no boundaries. It can be forged in a vacuum, inspired solely by a burning, inner conflict, or created by wistful expatriates wishing to bridge a long-lost past with an uncertain future. It can emerge organically, in harmony with the natural landscape, or as a carefully crafted response to cultural or political touchstones.  Museums and private collections heave with such works, yet only a select few demonstrate a rare confluence of intent, emotion, and artistic genius. These masterpieces are seared into the collective consciousness, reproduced in varying sizes and shapes on walls, stationary, and coffee mugs the world over.  Traditionally, art history has sought to neatly categorize a multitude of overlapping movements and styles, geography and epochs–Impressionism, Antiquity, Romanticism, Realism, and the Middle Ages, to name just a few. Borders, however, are frequently fluid, artists often itinerant and occasionally anonymous.  With this in mind, Stacker took on the task of curating this list of 30 famous works of art from 30 countries around the globe, consulting internet databases and museum websites as well as scholarly books and journals. Residence in a given museum or collection alone was not deemed reason enough for inclusion (in addition to being a source of contention among several nations). Selected works had to express or reflect a direct relationship between the artist and their country of birth, the object and its place of production. Vincent van Gogh may be the Netherlands' most well-known artist, but most of his masterworks depict French rather than Dutch subjects. Ceremonial objects created by Pre-Columbian societies, however, speak volumes about these lost cultures.  Scroll through the list to see which masterworks made the final cut, and find out which images changed the course of Korean painting, depict a dream-like vision of an Eastern European shtetl, or were inspired by a Pagan fertility ritual.  You may also like:  U.S. Marine Corps history from the year you were born

“You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech,” Churchill reportedly told Roosevelt, according to a statement from Christie’s in London, where the auction took place on Monday. “I must be with you when you see the sun set on the Atlas Mountains.” Churchill then painted the view they had shared and gave it to Roosevelt the day after their visit, reported The Art Newspaper. Roosevelt’s son sold the painting upon his father’s death. It eventually made its way to Brad Pitt, who gave it as a gift to then-partner Angelina Jolie. It was sold at Christie’s Modern British art evening by the Jolie Family Collection to an unknown Belgian bidder who bought two other Churchill paintings as well, reported The Art Newspaper. “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, according to CNN. “He felt that his paintings of the country were among his best.”

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