LONDON – Sir Winston Churchill’s Scene at Marrakech (est. £300,000-£500,000) will highlight the Modern British Art Evening Sale, which takes place on March 1, 2021.
The painting was a gift from Churchill to Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, one of the most distinguished generals of World War II, who played a vital role in the retreat from the battle of Dunkirk, which saved many allied lives.
Montgomery was also instrumental in the tactics that delivered an eventual victory for the allied forces in 1945. The painting has remained with the Montgomery family since it was gifted by Churchill and is being offered at auction for the first time. Sir John Lavery, Churchill’s tutor in painting, was one of many friends who encouraged Churchill to visit Morocco and his first trip to the country was during 1935 where he was inspired by the warmth and quality of light that the environment offered.
Scene at Marrakech is one of Churchill’s more accomplished works of this subject matter, harvesting the chromatic intensity of the warm desert sand, which harmoniously contrasts with the blue stream in the foreground. The vivid greens of the vegetation in the background also bring color, life and energy to the otherwise typically sparse landscape of this scene in Morocco.
“Sir Winston Churchill’s gift of his painting, Scene at Marrakech, to Field Marshal Montgomery symbolizes the deep respect and friendship the prime minister held for his general; a man who led the British army and was key to the victory for the allied forces in the Second World War,” said Nick Orchard, the head of the Modern British Art Department at Christie’s.