Winston Churchill painting in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1946. Getty Images.
Every Monday morning, Artnet News brings you The Gray Market. The column decodes important stories from the previous week—and offers unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the art industry in the process.
This week, a reminder that the art-market generation gap isn’t as wide as many like to believe…
WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE SALESROOMS, WE SHALL FIGHT WITH THE PADDLES
Last Monday, three canvases by the late British prime minister and recreational painter Winston Churchill sold for a combined $15.7 million at Christie’s Modern British Art evening sale. After years of Boomers scolding younger buyers for perpetuating the auction success of artists like KAWS and Banksy, the prices paid for Churchill’s work prove that extracurricular fame can seduce “experienced” buyers into inflating an artist’s value just as wantonly as their juniors.
Among the trio of Churchill paintings to change hands at the house last week, the most hotly pursued was Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque (1943), a pastel-hued landscape depicting Morocco’s largest house of Islamic worship. Originally given to president Franklin D. Roosevelt after a pivotal wartime meeting between the Allied leaders in Casablanca, the work later landed in the collection of actor and director Angelina Jolie, who consigned it to Christie’s years after (maybe) receiving it as a gift from then-beau Brad Pitt.