"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Winston Churchill

This 1946 portrait of Winston Churchill in the honorary uniform of an Air Commodore of the 615 Squadron, RAF, by Douglas Chandor hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
 "As Great Britain's prime minister during World War II, it fell to Winston Churchill to cement his country's wartime alliance with the United States. The son of an American mother and an English father, he ultimately came to personify that alliance, and his wartime eloquence and shrewdness endeared him nearly as much to Americans as to his own country­men. In recognition of his special place in the story of Anglo-American relations, Congress made him an honorary citizen in 1963. Early in 1945 Churchill met with his two allies, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, at the Russian town of Yalta, where they reached agreements on strategies for the last phases of World War II. To commemorate the event, Roosevelt suggested that artist Douglas Chandor portray the trio at the conference table. The painting was never completed, however, because Stalin refused to sit for it."-- National Portrait Gallery
The projected painting of  "The Big Three at Yalta" is sketched on Chandor's study of Franklin Roosevelt. See: The Portrait Gallery: Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Chandor reported that Churchill said during a sitting "I think you might cut me in here at the waist a bit" and grabbing a paintbrush "whittled down his painted girth." (See: Winny Trims His Waistline on Portrait, The Reading Eagle, March 11, 1946)

Chandor sold the painting in 1946 to Bernard Baruch for the huge price of $25,000 dollars, the largest amount ever paid at the time for a contemporary portrait.  When the IRS disallowed treating the painting as a capital asset and the $25,000 as a capital gain on the Chandor's joint tax return, Mrs. Chandor sued the IRS commissioner and won.  (see: Chandor Estate v. Commissioner 1957)

No comments:

Post a Comment