The Winston Churchill painting that went to auction courtesy of Angelina Jolie stirred a fiery competition that resulted in an expectations-shattering high bid. Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque topped out at $11.5 million by the time the dust settled, far exceeding the estimated $3.4 million selling figure.
The painting of a Marrakesh desert scene has the distinction of being the only work Churchill completed during the war years. It was composed after the Casablanca Conference of 1943, where President Roosevelt joined the British Prime Minister to map out Allied strategy for the middle phase of World War II. Premier Stalin was not in attendance.
The painting has at least twice been a gift during its lifetime. Churchill gave it to Roosevelt; according to the New York Times, the painting also travelled in ribbons from Brad Pitt to Jolie. Pitt purchased it from a dealer in 2011, for $3 million.