The Onassis family auctioned off a painting by Winston Churchill Art and culture news

After decades in storage, Winston Churchill’s painting is up for auction in Phillips, New York for $ 1.5 million to $ 2 million.

The landscape, Deep, Breckless, was painted by Churchill in 1921 and remained in his own collection for 40 years. “He did not like to hand over or sell paintings,” says Ill an-Paul Engellen, Phillips’ 20th Century Vice President of Contemporary Art and World Co-Chair.

But after developing a friendship with Aristotle Onassis, a naval tycoon in the late 1950s, Churchill decided to honor Onassis with a previously selected group consisting of Queen Elizabeth Dwight D. Eisenhower. The gift of one of Churchill’s works of art.

In particular, he gave Onassis the “Trench”, Breckles. “If your friend is Onassis, one of the richest and most powerful businessmen in the world, then it is obvious that you will give him something that is dear to you and of which you are proud,” says Engellen.

Onassis was properly moved. Engellen says he displayed the painting in his super-yacht Christina Hall, where it hung next to paintings by El Greco, Pizarro, Gauguin and Vermeer.

The work depicts the summer landscape in a historic mansion in Norfolk, in the cousin of Churchill’s wife, Breckles Hall. The picture was last seen in public when the camera passed the Onassis Hall in 1964. In the documentary “The Other World of Winston Churchill”.


Churchill and Onassis have been friends since Churchill’s son Randolph met them in 1956.

According to Phillips, the former prime minister sailed at least eight Onassis ships from 1958 to 1963. The yacht was once one of the most famous in the world. Onassis bought a Canadian frigate for $ 34,000 at the end of World War II, after which he spent $ 4 million to repair it.

In a letter to his wife, Churchill described Christina as “the most beautiful structure I have ever seen.”

Onassis then used the yacht to host celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, billionaires such as Paul. Paul Getty, artists: Rudolf Nure! Եւ High-ranking officials: John von F. And Jack’s Kennedy, who married Onassis in 1968.

Among the many features of Christina was a bar (“Aryan bar”), which depicted whale teeth աթ chairs covered with whale costumes.

When Onassis died in 1975, his daughter donated the ship to the Greek government, although its contents remained in the family. Եւ Churchill’s painting was preserved. “They knew they had the picture,” says Engel. “After talking, it was decided that maybe it was something that should go to the next generation of collectors instead of being in storage.”


The work will be on sale at the 20th Century Phillips Contemporary Art Evening on June 23 at Park’s New York office.

The sale came after Churchill’s public record was set in March in Christie’s, London, when actress Angelina O’Leary sold Churchill’s 1943 painting, The Tower of Kutubia, for less than $ 11.6 million. Engelen says he learned that two additional Churchill paintings had since sold for $ 5 million.

Phillips understands the story of the picture. An advertising video has been made, and it is planned to copy “Ari Bar” at the headquarters of the auction house before the sale. Customers will be invited to a bar – a glass of Paul Roger – Churchill’s favorite champagne, although Engellen points out that whale teeth will be fake, whale’s ancestors “will not be recreated”.

“Churchill’s painting will hang in the re-created bar,” he continues. “It will tell the story of these two 20th-century titans.” Engel says it is a rare example of “when art history and world history come together.”

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