Churchill as a painter
I have had Hitler so I have to have Churchill. Churchill’s art has sold for a staggering £600,000 in recent years, that is certainly another step ahead of Hitler. Personally, I don’t really like his paintings either.
As a painter he was prolific, with over 570 paintings and two sculptures; he received a Diploma from the Royal Academy of London. Approximately 350 paintings are housed in Churchill’s garden Studio at Chartwell. His paintings were catalogued after his death by historian David Coombs with the support of the Churchill family. Coombs has published two books on the subject. The modern archive of Churchill’s art work is managed by designer Tony Malone, who oversees the administration and management of digital catalogue. Anthea Morton Saner and the Churchill Heritage Trust are responsible for all copyrights.
Churchill began painting in his 40s following a personal and political disaster, the Dardanelles Campaign in 1915. He is quoted as telling the painter Sir John Rothenstein: “If it weren’t for painting, I couldn’t live; I couldn’t bear the strain of things.” In 1921, Winston Churchill’s artwork was exhibited at the prestigious Galerie Druet in the Rue Royale, under the pseudonym Charles Morin. Six paintings were said to have been sold. In 1948, he was bestowed the prestigious recognition of Honorary Academician Extraordinary by the Royal Academy of Arts. Sir Hugh Casson, President of the Royal Academy of Art, introduced Churchill as “an amateur of considerable natural ability who, had he had the time (to study and practice), could have held his own with most professionals … especially as a colourist.”
For more than forty years he found contentment in his painting pastime. Yet, as important as it was to him, this fascinating aspect of his life remained relatively unknown for years. The first public exhibition of his paintings was under an assumed name and only a few major shows were held in his lifetime. The Winston Churchill Trust has permitted Churchill’s works of art to be made available in the form of original limited editions, bearing the unique embossed seal of the Churchill Trust.
Churchill’s work has been displayed in art galleries and exhibitions in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and the United States. Works by Churchill can be found in the permanent collections of the following museums: The Royal Academy and the Tate Gallery, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Art in Sao Paolo, Brazil. His association with these prestigious institutions gives credibility to Churchill’s work as an artist. Some of Churchill’s art has been sold at the major Auction houses, and the latest work, ‘View of Tinherir’, was sold at Sotheby’s for a record £612,800 (over US$1,100,000), nearly three times its estimate. A 76 inch x 63.5 inch landscape painting by Winston fetched one million pounds in July 2007.