Nearly five years after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt split, the Maleficent star has moved onto the “sell your ex’s stuff” stage of the breakup. On Monday (Mar. 1), Angie, 45, auctioned off a painting that Brad, 57, gifted her in 2011. The artwork – “Tower of Koutoubia Mosque,” a Moroccan landscape painted by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and gifted to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt – was sold for a record-breaking £8.3 million ($11.5 million with fees) at Christie’s “Modern British Art Evening Sale” auction in London. It’s the most anyone has paid for a painting by Churchill. The new owner is anonymous, with the auctioneer referring to them as “being from Belgium,” according to The Art Newspaper.
Brad purchased the painting for Angelina in 2011, paying a reported $2.95 million for it. The painting was passed down from FDR to his son, who sold it in 1950 to an art collector. It later wound up in the hands of movie producer Norman G. Hickman, who was involved in the Churchill-themed flick, The Finest Hours. Hickman’s relatives inherited the art after he died, and it stayed in a closet for fifteen years before New Orleans antique dealer M.S. Rau sold it to Brad.
“When we sold the ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’ by Winston Churchill, it was valued at just under $3 million, a fair price for such a historic work,” Bill Rau of M.S. Rau told Page Six. “The fact that it sold at auction for [$11.5 million] just goes to show you that important pieces will continue to be coveted and fetch top dollar. The painting has had an unprecedented journey, from being gifted to a US President, to being hidden away in a closet for nearly half a century, to being owned by the most famous couple in Hollywood. I’m thrilled that M.S. Rau was able to bring this amazing piece back into the spotlight.”
That “most famous couple in Hollywood” hasn’t been together since September 2016. Angelina filed for divorce, putting into motion a contentious legal back-and-forth that, as of March 2021, has yet to be completed. Angelina and Brad continue to work on the details of their divorce and the custody of their children — Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne. Recently, things have been quiet between the two, but Angie did give a rare comment about the divorce at the start of February.
“I don’t know. The past few years have been pretty hard,” Angelina told British Vogue. “I’ve been focusing on healing our family. It’s slowly coming back, like the ice melting and the blood returning to my body. But I’m not there. I’m not there yet. But I hope to be. I’m planning on it.”