In the Oscar-winning film darkest hourGary Oldman portrayed Winston Churchill as a confident, decisive and selfish statesman in the face of the 1940 Nazi onslaught, just as the former British Prime Minister is widely known.
However, in other areas of his life where he also achieved much, Churchill was always modest and humble. With regard to his art in particular, Churchill was hesitant about his talent and the quality of his works. He submitted his paintings under a pseudonym to galleries for review and only gave them as gifts to people he felt close to.
Churchill began painting in 1915 at the age of 40. Throughout his life he made around 550 paintings, which he called his “daubs”. He painted landscapes, seascapes and still lifes that he encountered while traveling through Europe, North America and Africa.
A collection of 11 of these paintings held by the family of the late Julian Sandys, Churchill’s eldest grandson, is now on sale in exhibitions across the United States.
The paintings are currently on display at Heather James Fine Art’s newly opened gallery in San Francisco through July 27. They will travel to the gallery at art dealer Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on August 1 and will be available to visitors and buyers through September 15.
“All but about 100 of the 500 paintings Churchill made in his lifetime belong irrevocably to the British people through a trust,” said Jim Carona, owner of Heather James Fine Art. Penta. “The 11 paintings we offer were previously owned by members of the Churchill family, making them extremely rare and highly collectable.”
The paintings are expected to sell for between US$1 million and US$3 million each.
The 11 paintings, including nine landscapes, a coastal scene and a still life, were created between the 1920s and 1940s, depicting guest estates, gardens, as well as family vacation spots, including some of the destinations Churchill’s favorite trips to France and Morocco.
One of the first paintings, An avenue in Frinton-On-Sea, Essex, with Miss Diana Churchillcreated in 1922, depicts Diana, Churchill’s daughter, then 13 years his senior, walking along a lightly mottled path under a canopy of trees.
This painting “poignantly echoes the transition from darkness to light that Churchill himself was experiencing at the time, having recently lost a child and soon welcoming a new addition to the family,” Carona said. penta.
Another painting from the collection, Marrakeshwas created in 1947 and personally selected by Churchill as a gift for Julian Sandys.
Among other paintings, Lake near Breccles in autumn, ch. 1930, On the Var, ch. 1935, and Le Moulin du St.-Georges-Motel, ch. 1930, were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1949, 1952 and 1962, respectively.
All 11 paintings were included in a traveling exhibition from 2014 to 2015 at the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta commemorating the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death. They were later exhibited in other American museums. Prior to 2014, the paintings were displayed on the walls of Sandys family homes in the UK.
Churchill was believed to use painting as a way to cope with depression, but the hobby helped him hone his political and diplomatic skills, according to Duncan Sandys, Churchill’s great-grandson and son of Julian Sandys.
“It gave him sanctuary during adversity and I think made him more effective in 1940 as Hitler prepared to invade Britain,” he told Heather James Fine Art.