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Angelina Jolie's Churchill Painting Sets Auction Record

Former British prime minister's 'most important work' sells for almost $10M
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2021 8:13 AM CST

(Newser) – A painting by former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill has just sold for an auction record, making Angelina Jolie millions of dollars richer. The actress had offered up The Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque, which Churchill painted in Marrakech, Morroco, during World War II. An anonymous buyer nabbed it for $9.75 million at auction in London on Monday, per the BBC. That's almost four times the previous $2.7 million record for a Churchill painting, set at Sotheby's in London in 2014, and well above the $3.5 million estimate. CNN reports the final purchase price after fees was $11.5 million. Two other works by Churchill sold for more than triple their estimates. "Scene at Marrakech," painted in 1935, went for $2.6 million, while "St Paul's Churchyard" sold for $1.5 million.

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But The Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque is the only painting Churchill completed during the war, according to Christie's. A spokesman calls it "Churchill's most important work," per the BBC. It depicts "the majestic landscape of Marrakech as the sun set over the Atlas Mountains"—a scene that Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt reportedly viewed together after wrapping up the 1943 Casablanca Conference, antiques dealer Bill Rau tells CNN. Churchill is said to have gifted the oil painting to Roosevelt for his birthday before Roosevelt's son sold it in the 1960s. It then sat in a closet in New Orleans until Brad Pitt purchased it in 2011 as a gift for his then-partner, per CNN. The purchase price is unclear. Pitt and Jolie separated five years later. (Churchill completed more than 500 works.)

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