A painting by former prime minister of The United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, that was owned by actor Angelina Jolie sold for nearly $12 million at an auction on Monday, 1 March.
The painting popularly known as ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’ sold at a Christie’s London auction for far beyond the auction house’s $3.4 million estimated high-end price tag.
The 1943 Churchill art work was last bought from New Orleans antiques dealer M.S. Rau for $2.95 million in 2011 by an unnamed buyer, and ended up in the Jolie family collection. The buyer at the time was avid art collector Brad Pitt, who gifted it to Jolie.
The painting shows a sunset over Marrakech’s largest mosque, which Churchill took President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to see the day after the 1943 Casablanca Conference, where the allies committed to seek Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender.
Roosevelt was so enamoured with the sunset that Churchill painted the scene as a gift for the president, the only piece of art he completed during World War II, according to Christie’s.
Christie’s head of modern British art Nick Orchard said in a statement the painting is “arguably the best painting by Winston Churchill” because of the subject’s personal significance to him and how it symbolizes his relationship with Roosevelt.
An avid artist, Churchill completed more than 550 paintings. The previous highest price fetched by his work at auction was a painting of a school of goldfish in a pond at his Chartwell country house in Kent, England, that sold for $2.76 million in 2014.