Churchill’s aura and vivid colors draw new fans to his art
Canadine wrote that Churchill was “at best indifferent, at worst hostile to modern abstract art” by Chagall and Picasso. Instead, he was captivated by Manet, Monet, Cézanne and Matisse, whose work, he wrote in his book Painting as Leisure, was “difficult with joy and floating in sparkling air.”
In the 1920s, Churchill sent five paintings to an amateur show in Paris under the pseudonym Charles Morin because he did not want to use his name. Four sold at modest prices.
He also used the pseudonym David Winter to enter an amateur painting competition in London in 1926. He was awarded the first prize by the jury. Kenneth Clarke, who later became director of the National Gallery in London; Oswald Birley, noted portrait painter; and Joseph Duvin, the most prominent art dealer of the time.
In 1949, Churchill sold Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, the rights to reproduce five of Churchill’s paintings, which were used to illustrate Christmas cards. Hall later organized a traveling exhibition of 35 Churchill paintings that opened in 1958 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo. of Ontario and the Smithsonian.
But not all museums welcomed such a display.
According to the website of the International Churchill Society, “The assistant director of the Carnegie Institution of Pittsburgh refused to display Churchill’s pictures, citing one of his other ‘hobbies’; “I understand Churchill is a great brickmaker too, but no one is showing bricks this season.
Churchill’s paintings have been shown in galleries and exhibitions in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and the United States, says Mary L. Alberridge, the former director. International Churchill Society. Three museums, the Tate Gallery and the Royal Academy in London and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, have works by Churchill in their collections.
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