«The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque»(« The tower of the Koutoubia mosque », 1943), the only painting that Winston Churchill painted during World War II, it will be the star of the auction that Christie’s firm will carry out on March 1. The painting, which belongs to the private collection of Angelina Jolie, reach a price of between 1.5 and 2.5 million pounds (between 1.7 and 2.8 million euros).
Winston Churchill, a notable amateur painter, created this work in Marrakech, in the days after the Casablanca conference, held from January 14 to 24, 1943, and in which the US president participated, Franklin D. Roosevelt; the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill; and the french generals Charles de Gaulle Y Henri giraud.
Roosevelt was precisely the inspirer of the painting. Invited by Churchill to join him in Marrakech after the political conference, to share with him the views of the city and its light at sunset. The US president was so impressed that Churchill decided to put the image on the canvas and give him the painting, which was interpreted not only as a gesture of friendship between the leaders but also between their respective countries.
According Nick Orchard, Head of the Department of British Modern Art at Christie’s, this is a historically significant painting. “It is the only work that Churchill painted during the war, perhaps encouraged by the recent advances of the Allies in what he considered one of the most beautiful countries he had ever known. ” The Koutoubia Mosque Tower ” is therefore possibly Winston Churchill’s best painting due to the importance of the subject for him and the fact that it highlights the importance of friendship between the two leaders. The fact that give the painting to Roosevelt it underlines the fact that Churchill held him in high esteem, and points to their joint efforts to guide the Allied powers towards the outcome of World War II. ‘
Sir Winston Churchill began painting Moroccan landscapes after one of his artistic tutor, Sir John Lavery, will recommend visiting the country. Churchill traveled to Morocco for the first time in 1935, and painted about fifty canvases there, but “The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” is the only one he made between 1939 and 1945.
Elliot Roosevelt, son of the American president, sold the painting in 1950 – his father had died five years earlier – to a collector in Nebraska, George W. Woodward. Years later the film producer would acquire it Norman G. Hickman. After his death, it belonged to the producer’s second wife and later to the latter’s daughter, who kept it in a closet for fifteen years; In 2011, the painting was put up for auction and was purchased by Hollywood stars.