Angelina Jolie sells Winston Churchill painting for £7m


The painting was completed by Churchill during the war and shows the mosque with the Atlas mountains in the background.

Angelina Jolie just sold a painting previously owned by Sir Winston Churchill for a record of £7m. The overall sale price on the piece was four times the total presale estimates beating the previous record on Churchill painting sales - £1.8m. 

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The identity of the buyer of the ‘Tower Of The Koutoubia Mosque’ painting remains anonymous. This rare art piece was first owned by Franklin D. Roosevelt and later sold on Monday at an auction at Christie’s. The painting fetched a record sum of 8.3 million pounds, fees included. 

Churchill Painting

Churchill was an amateur painter and worked on this painting in 1943, depicting the sunlit Marrakesh surrounded by the Atlas Mountains in the backdrop. He then presented it to Franklin Roosevelt as a gift after their iconic World War 2 meeting held in Casablanca discussing long-term strategy.  

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Churchill persuaded Roosevelt even managed to persuade Roosevelt to extend his stay in North Africa by another day. A gesture that many describe as a form of soft power and depicting the unique relationship between the two leaders. He even persuaded Roosevelt that he could not leave North Africa without viewing the sunset over the Atlas mountains. 

According to Christie's catalog, Churchill would speak of Marrakesh in a very positive light. This was the only painting by Churchill as the war raged on. It clearly showcases the view the two men enjoyed at the Villa Taylor, on the city’s outskirts. 

Painting’s ownership

In 2011, Brad Pitt bought the painting at an impressive $2.95 million in New Orleans. He acquired it from M.S. Rau, a New Orleans dealer, and gifted it to Jolie. According to Christie’s collection, the piece was listed as “property of the Jolie Family Collection.” Jolie’s ex-husband, Brad, is an avid art collector with several pieces in his portfolio such as the Neo Rauch and Banksy. 

The sale

The work was one of the main sellers at the evening auction at the Modern British Art in London. Estimates set its price at $2.09 million to $3.49 million. The anonymous buyer who purchased the painting also acquired two other paintings in the sale, among them the 1935 landscape “Scene at Marrakech”. Frenzied telephone bidding over the painting resulted in a sale price of £7m. 

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The previous high of his paintings at an auction was the 2014 ‘The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell’ painting that raked in $2.75 million. It dates back to 1932 and shows the garden of the politician's home country in Kent. 

Before his entry into politics, Churchill served as a career military officer and picked up the painting hobby at the age of 40. He developed a deep affection for Marrakesh in the 1930s while it was a French protectorate.