I seem to know more about Winston Churchill than any other artist whose work we sell. Churchill is deeply woven into the history of the 20th Century. I find it fascinating to read about Churchill’s influence on the 20th century and relate it to his personal life and passion for painting.
Churchill received encouragement to seriously develop his art practice after receiving an amateur prize for 5 paintings he sent to Paris in the 1920’s. The paintings Churchill entered in the competition were some of his earliest works; lacking confidence in himself as an artist, Churchill actually submitted his work under a pseudonym. However, his winning the contest inspired him to take painting more seriously and paint under his true name.
Churchill possessed the heightened perception of an artistic genius to which no scene is common place. Churchill had the dedication of a true craftsman and understood the principles of art. He consulted professional art teachers and adopted the principles of Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing. He spent time in Avignon, France studying the elegant Provençal light that inspired so many artists before him.
In this particular work, we look onto an intimate scene of Churchill’s son, Randolph Churchill and the Lady Castlerosse enjoying a quiet game poolside at the famed Chateau de l'Horizon, then owned by American actress and businesswoman Maxine Elliott. The chateau is nestled between the French Riviera and the rolling hillside of Cannes, and was a favorite holiday spot for the Churchills. Here we see the rich use of color that dominated his paintings. Between the flowing red awnings and the various shades of blue that encompass the pool, sea and sky, we really get a sense of the talent that emanated from this important statesman.
Painting outdoors to Churchill was half passion and half philosophy; it was there that he found another world. Painting was a means to escape from the pressures of his life. This quote sums up Churchill’s fulfilling relationship with the hobby, “When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years painting, and so to get to the bottom of the subject.”