Winston Churchill painted 'Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque' in 1943 which Brad Pitt then bought and gifted to Angelina Jolie in 2011. The painting was sold for $11.5 million at Christie's London on March 1, 2021.
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
  • 'Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque' more than tripled its estimate of $3.5 million, the BBC reported.
  • Churchill gifted the oil painting to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.
  • Pitt bought it for Jolie for $2.95 million in 2011. It sold on March 1 at Christie's London.
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Angelina Jolie sold a Winston Churchill painting for $11.5 million, smashing the record for artwork by the British Prime Minister.

'Tower of Koutoubia Mosque' was sold by the Jolie Family Collection on March 1, 2021 at Christie's London. The Belgian buyer was not identified.

The sale more than tripled its estimate of $3.5 million. Churchill's previous record was $2.7 million in 2014 at Sotheby's London for 'The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell' from 1932, the BBC reported.

Churchill painted 'Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque' after being inspired by the city of Marrakesh, a much-loved subject of his, following the 1943 Casablanca Conference, the BBC added.

The Prime Minister then gifted the oil painting to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt who he convinced to spend an extra day in North Africa discussing long-term WWII strategy in Casablanca.

According to The New York Times, he told Roosevelt: "You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakesh. I must be with you when you see the sunset on the Atlas Mountains." 

Thought to be Churchill's only landscape painted during the war, it features the view from the balcony of Villa Taylor, on the outskirts of Marrakesh, where he often stayed, The New York Times added. 

The President passed the painting on to his son who sold it in 1950 to an art collector in Nebraska, five years after his father's death.

It was eventually bought by movie producer, Norman G. Hickman, for a 1964 film based on Churchill, 'The Finest Hours.' After he died, it was left to his relatives and ended up stored in a closet for 15 years.

Brad Pitt, an avid art collector, bought "Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque" for $2.95 million in 2011 from New Orleans antiques dealer, M.S. Rau and gifted it to Jolie.

Although they divorced in 2019, their lawyers asked for a bifurcated judgment meaning two married people can be declared single while some elements such as finances, the Associated Press reported.

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