NEW YORK: A painting by wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that was gifted to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis sold for $1.85 million at a Phillips auction in New York on Wednesday.
“The Moat, Breccles,” a signed 1921 oil landscape, went for within its pre-sale estimate price of between $1.5 million and $2 million.
The sale was far less than the $11.6 million netted by another Churchill painting sold by Angelina Jolie at Christie’s last March.
Despite failing to shatter records, the landscape which Churchill mentioned in a December 1921 essay titled “Painting as a Pastime” — appealed 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 Onassis.
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, Gauguin, El Greco and Pissarro.