Churchill painting to auction in New York

2021-06-21 07:51:51 GMT2021-06-21 15:51:51(Beijing Time) Sina English
Top: The Moroccan city of Marrakesh on February 24 Gallery workers hold with The Tower of Koutoubia Mosque by Winston Churchill on February 17. Photos: AFP  Top: The Moroccan city of Marrakesh on February 24 Gallery workers hold with The Tower of Koutoubia Mosque by Winston Churchill on February 17. Photos: AFP

A piece of art weaving together one of the great statesmen of the 20th century, an icon of the jet set and the world's first "super yacht" will go under the hammer at New York auction house Phillips on Wednesday.

The Moat, Breccles, a signed 1921 oil landscape by Winston Churchill, is estimated by Phillips at $1.5 million to $2 million, far from the $11.6 million netted by another painting from the wartime British prime minister sold by Angelina Jolie at Christie's in March.

But even if it doesn't shatter records, this landscape - which Churchill mentioned in a December 1921 essay titled Painting as a Pastime - could appeal to both history and celebrity buffs.

Churchill kept the painting for 40 years before offering it in 1961, four years before his death, to his friend the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, Phillips Deputy Chairman Jean-Paul Engelen told AFP.

The tycoon was so proud of his gift that he hung it in a place of honor - behind the bar of his yacht - alongside works by Vermeer, Le Greco and Pissarro.

This super yacht, named Christina after Onassis's daughter, was a former Canadian Navy frigate, nearly 100 meters long. It had been a part of the Normandy landings before Onassis bought the ship post-war for $34,000.

To spur interest in the canvas, Phillips has recreated the bar on the Christina - known as Ari's Bar - in its New York showroom, including facsimiles of its famous whale teeth, and filled the shelves with Pol Roger champagne, Churchill's preferred bubbly.

(Agencies)

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