LONDON, Sept 15 ― The work of Winston Churchill continues to interest the art market. A painting by the former British Prime Minister will be offered at auction in October at Christie’s, during the upcoming “Modern British Art Evening Sale.”
Churchill painted “The Bridge at Aix-en-Provence” in 1948, while he was in the South of France to write his war memoirs. This oil on canvas depicts the Trois-Sautets Bridge, which Paul Cézanne previously captured more than half a century earlier in “Paysage à l’oratoire et le pont des Trois-Sautets” and “Baigneuses sous le pont de l’Arc.”
Churchill had gifted this landscape to the Swiss paint manufacturer and friend, Willy Sax. The two men met in 1946, shortly before the British Prime Minister gave his famous speech announcing Franco-German reconciliation at the University of Zurich. They became such good friends that they went on painting vacations together, and Sax created a new shade of blue especially for Churchill.
“That Sax was present when Churchill created this seminal work is testament to his lasting influence on the former prime minister and in a nod to that, Churchill gifted the work to him, cementing a lifelong friendship,” said Nick Orchard, head of modern British art at Christie’s.
“The Bridge at Aix-en-Provence” will go under the hammer October 20 in London at the “Modern British Art Evening Sale.” It is estimated to fetch between £1.5 and £2.5 million (approx. RM8.6 million and RM14.4 million). These estimates are a far cry from the £7 million fetched by “The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque” at Christie’s in March. At the same sale, two other Churchill paintings sold for £1.55 million and £880,000.
Winston Churchill developed a taste for painting in his 40s, following the failure of the Dardanelles campaign. He painted hundreds of pictures during his lifetime, many of which were given to close friends and world leaders of his time. ― ETX Studio