A historic painting that previously belonged to a US President -- not to mention one of Hollywood's biggest stars -- is set to go up for auction in March as part of the "Modern British Art" sale at Christie's. "Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque" by Winston Churchill hails from the art collection of the American filmmaker and actress, Angelina Jolie.
As its name suggests, the painting shows Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, captured at sunset with the Atlas Mountains in the background. Although over 40 of Winston Churchill's paintings depict Moroccan landscapes, this particular work stands out as the only painting Churchill created during the Second World War. The former British Prime Minister painted it in January 1943, a few days after attending the Casablanca Conference with the US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the time, the two politicians extended their stay in Morocco with a visit to Marrakech. The destination proved a hit with Franklin D. Roosevelt, to whom Winston Churchill gave "Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque" as a memento of their trip and a sign of their friendship.
The painting will go under the hammer March 1 at Christie's, where it could fetch GB£1.5-£2,5 million (approx. US$2-$3.4 million). It could also set a new auction record for the former UK Prime Minister's work, exceeding the £1.8 million (approx. US$2.5 million) fetched by "The Goldfish Pond at Chartwell" at Sotheby's in 2014.
Bids for "Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque" could also be buoyed by the identity of the painting's current owner, one Angelina Jolie. According to Artnet News, the painting has been in the personal collection of the Jolie family since 2011. Although best known for her work as a filmmaker and actress, Angelina Jolie is also a keen collector of art. She acquired works by Banksy, Dom Pattinson, Neo Rauch and Richard Serra with her ex-husband, Brad Pitt. Although the couple were always very discreet about their art collection, Wealth-X researchers put its estimated worth at some US$25 million.