A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill
A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill
A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill

A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel by Winston Churchill

  • This vibrant oil on canvas was composed by the great Sir Winston Churchill
  • The work captures a village fete at Saint-Georges-Motel in Normandy
  • Broad brushstrokes and vivid color are characteristics of the statesman's artwork
  • Painting was a dominating passion for Churchill in the last half of his life
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Item No. 30-9376
$1,385,000
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Sir Winston Churchill
1874-1965 | British

A Village Fete, St Georges-Motel

Initialed "WSC" (lower right)
Oil on canvas

Sir Winston Churchill’s reputation as a politician and statesman often overshadows the tremendous talent he possessed for painting. A true Renaissance man, Churchill pursued the art of painting for more than 40 years, offering a glimpse into the personal life of the historic giant. This exceptional work painted at Saint-Georges-Motel near Dreux, Normandy is exemplary of his impressive oeuvre, with its vivid colors and swift brushwork.

The work was likely painted by Churchill during a visit in the 1930s to the Chateau Saint-Georges-Motel, the summer home of Consuelo Balsan. Consuelo, one of the American Vanderbilts, had once been married to Churchill's cousin, the Duke of Marlborough. Following the couple's divorce, Consuelo married the French pilot Jacques Balsan, though she remained friendly with many members of the Churchill family, including Winston. The French artist Paul Maze was also a frequent guest of the Balsans, and Churchill often painted with him on the estate in Normandy. Maze became one of Churchill's great artistic mentors, and his influence is clearly seen in the bold brushwork of the present composition.

The vibrant oil on canvas captures a cheerful scene of a village fete at the nearby Saint-Georges-Motel. The background is filled with revelers, while the foreground offers a dynamic view of a lake reflecting the colorful scene above. In its entirety, it reveals the energy and vibrancy that defines Churchill's signature style.

Painting was a dominating passion for Churchill in the last half of his life. There is little evidence that he had any artistic training prior to his 40s. In fact, his wife Clementine mentioned at one point that before he began painting, Churchill had hardly visited an art museum, much less created art. Churchill first began painting following a personal and political disaster, the Dardanelles campaign, in 1915. He is quoted as telling the painter Sir John Rothenstein: “If it weren’t for painting, I couldn’t live; I couldn’t bear the strain of things.”

In 1948, he was bestowed the prestigious recognition of Honorary Academician Extraordinary by the Royal Academy of Arts. He painted roughly 500 works, approximately 350 which are housed in Churchill’s garden studio at Chartwell. Only a few others were given to friends and remain in private collections.

Circa 1930

Canvas: 20" high x 24" wide
Frame: 31 7/16" high x 27 1/4" wide

References:
Sir Winston Churchill's Life Through His Paintings, Chaucer Press, London, 2003, by D. Coombs and M.S. Churchill, p. 180, no. C249, fig. 364 (illustrated)

Provenance:
Lady Spencer-Churchill
Sarah Lady Audley
Sale, Sotheby's, New York, 15 May 1985, lot 375
Private collection, London
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans, 2019
specifications
Artist: Churchill, Sir Winston
Framed:30.5"W x 26.25"H
Unframed:24.125"W x 20"H
Period: 1919-Present
Origin:England
Subject:Genre
Depth:1.75 Inches
Width:30.5 Inches
Height:26.25 Inches
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