Sutherland concentrated hard on getting the hands right, and by most accounts he succeeded. Things started off hopefully enough. He described it to Lord Moran as "filthy" and "malignant",[4] and complained that it made him “look like a down-and-out drunk who has been picked out of the gutter in the Strand.”[5][6] With ten days remaining, he sent a note to Sutherland stating that "the painting, however masterly in execution, is not suitable"[5] and declaring that the ceremony would go ahead without it. In 1946, Sutherland had his first exhibition in New York. 11 Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, vol. There were six studies of the head. Sutherland was commissioned by both Houses of Parliament to paint a full-length portrait of Churchill in 1954, for which this is a study. “[T]heir great desire is a central portrait of Winston. Wielding immense power, he led it to ultimate and complete victory. Churchill and Sutherland friend Somerset Maugham was present at the viewing. Churchill looks at the portrait and remarks, with a combination of presence, timing and a successful masking of emotion: “The portrait is a remarkable example of modern art. His early work, influenced by Samuel Palmer, was in etching and engraving, before he moved into ceramics and painting.During the Second World War, as an official war artist, he produced powerful studies of air-raid devastation in London and Swansea. Churchill’s doctor Lord Moran worried that Sutherland would give up and “paint the legend.” Sir Winston, Moran said, “is always acting. She gave every indication of liking it. Their first choice of Sir Herbert Gunn was rejected because he was too expensive. His partisans call it the “infamous portrait,” the “daub,” the “outrage.” Better, they said, to present him with something he really liked. Graham Sutherland's Winston Churchill (1954) by Jonathan Jones Guardian, Saturday November 3, 200 . As well as the portrait, Winston had been presented with a book signed by almost every member of both houses, and a cheque for £140,000. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery acquired the more important detail studies for the painting, along with the Garter robe study. Clementine was profoundly aware of all this. It is his eightieth birthday. The painting of Winston Churchill by Graham Sutherland was commissioned by both Houses of Parliament to commemorate Churchill’s 80 th birthday. The same year he also taught painting at Goldsmiths' School of Art. Lady Spencer-Churchill viewed the completed portrait on 20 November 1954 and took a photograph back to her husband. In 1961 he would tell Lord Beaverbrook: “For better or worse, I am the kind of painter who is governed entirely by what he sees. Churchill's wife had the painting burnt a year or two later. Within the events of the 2016 Netflix series The Crown, the ninth episode of the first season, entitled Assassins, dramatises the creation, unveiling, and destruction of the portrait. Archives, Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The true fate of Sir Winston Churchill's Sutherland portrait has come to light, finally unravelling the mystery of its controversial disappearance. The series culminated in this work, whose simplified forms and detailed technique recall Palmer. Winston Churchill was British statesman that served as the British Prime Minister during World War II. From 1947 into the 1960s, his work was inspired by the landscape of the French Riviera, and he spent several months there each year. Sutherland had a reputation as a modernist painter with some recent successful portraits, such as Somerset Maugham in 1949. x 12 1/4 in. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister. Portrait of the week No 82 . [11], Some preparatory sketches for Sutherland's painting are held by the National Portrait Gallery, London. “The suggestion about Graham Sutherland was not smiled on at all. Of course they would be cynics. Sir Winston saw his political and personal powers fading. However, the strange shadows and bizarrely gnarled and twisted tree trunks strike a more personal note. It should have been clear, especially given his 1951 portrayal of Lord Beaverbrook, that he was no purveyor of legends. In 1944, he was commissioned by Walter Hussey (the Vicar of St Matthew's Church, Northampton and an important patron of modern religious art) to paint The Crucifixion (1946). At the birthday celebrations at Westminster Hall in November 1954, Churchill was presented with a portrait by Graham Sutherland, commissioned by past and present members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. 23, Never Flinch, Never Weary November 1951-February 1965 (Hillsdale, Mich.: Hillsdale College Press, 2020), 2283. He suggested posing in his Garter robes, but the Gift Committee instructions precluded that. Artist: Graham Sutherland (1903-1980), one of the neo-romantic painters who dominated British art during the second world war and its aftermath. He took his preliminary materials back to his studio to create the final work on a large square canvas, the shape chosen to symbolize Churchill's solidity and endurance, embodied in a remark that Churchill made, "I am a rock". He is perhaps most famous for his ‘Christ in Glory’, the world’s largest tapestry in Coventry Cathedral. In addition to this, it is a singularly disagreeable sepia colour, and I would not call it an ornament to any wall.”9, In June 1962 Churchill’s cousin, Shane Leslie, resumed the quest for Churchill College. Papa has given him 3 sittings & no one has seen the beginnings of the portrait except Papa & he is much struck by the power of his drawing.”2. In June 1954 the cumbersomely named “Churchill Joint Houses of Parliament Gift Committee” decided on the presentation of a portrait and who should receive the commission. But we have to accept, and perhaps understand, the action of Clementine in destroying the original. [9] Lady Spencer-Churchill had previously destroyed earlier portraits of her husband that she disliked, including sketches by Walter Sickert and Paul Maze. It is thought that a copy of the portrait is held at the Carlton Club, also in London, although it is not on display. Finding the depiction deeply unflattering, Churchill disliked the portrait intensely. A longtime Churchill bibliophile and collector, he was formerly associate editor of Finest Hour. Graham Sutherland's Winston Churchill (1954) by Jonathan Jones Guardian, Saturday November 3, 200 . Graham Sutherland OM (1903–1980) was an English artist known for his works largely focused on landscape and religion. Description: Graham Sutherland O.M. In examining these, it is rather easy to understand how Churchill may have been lulled by Sutherland’s advance sketches. They intend it to remain with him for his lifetime, and then to hang in the Palace of Westminster. Artist Graham Sutherland works on the portrait of Winston Churchill, watched by his wife Kathleen, on 22nd November 1954. Sutherland also worked from photographs by Elsbeth Juda. Other reactions were mixed; some critics praised the strength of its likeness, but others condemned it as a disgrace. However, Churchill was very outspoken in his hatred of the result, publicly shunning and humiliating the artist on the day of its reveal. It was his first view of the work and he was deeply upset. ", Winston Churchill, Graham Sutherland (1954), Portrait of the week, No 82, The Secret Churchill Caper That Netflix’s The Crown Didn’t Show, Oil sketch of Winston Churchill, by Graham Sutherland, Pencil sketch of Winston Churchill, by Graham Sutherland, BBC Radio 4: Churchill Portrait Destroyed, Never was so much owed by so many to so few, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sutherland%27s_Portrait_of_Winston_Churchill&oldid=998415949, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 January 2021, at 08:06. Sutherland was reluctant to discuss the work in progress with Churchill and showed the subject few of his working materials. It was commissioned by both Houses of Parliament, and the whole episode became very public. The English neo-romantic artist Graham Sutherland (1903-1980), a painter and designer employed by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to bear witness to the bomb damage in Wales and London, was commissioned by the House of Commons to paint a portrait of Winston Churchill in 1954. He delivered his commission. Neither Sir Winston nor Lady Churchill ever liked it…. On 20 November Lady Churchill previewed the portrait. Sutherland is portrayed by Stephen Dillane. It certainly combines force and candour. 1 Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill, His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963, 8 vols. The true fate of Sir Winston Churchill's Sutherland portrait has come to light, finally unravelling the mystery of its controversial disappearance. [12] The Beaverbrook Art Gallery also has a number of studies Sutherland did in preparation for the portrait in its collection.[13]. Though it was not then known, Churchill College had, in Neville Chamberlain’s ill-judged phrase, “missed the bus.” In anticipation of requests such as these (to which a later generation might accede), Clementine Churchill had taken action. 7 Graham Sutherland to Lord Beaverbrook, 21 March 1961. Britain was now a junior player, and a former ally was a looming threat. Churchill enjoyed Sutherland’s company, suggesting they paint each other and take a sketching trip together in the south of France. Anyway, the painting was done, and, Graham took the, the risk-limiting step, and asked K Clark, who was a great admirer of Sutherland, to come down to Trottiscliffe and look at the painting. By the time the portrait had been commissioned, Churchill was an elder statesman nearing the end of his second period as Prime Minister. Sutherland received 1,000 guineas in compensation for the painting, a sum funded by donations from members of the House of … Beaverbrook called his own Sutherland portrait both an “outrage” and a “masterpiece.” One senses “outrage” pronounced with impish glee. The public never saw the portrait again. After completing these sketches, he made some oil studies of his subject. The English neo-romantic artist Graham Sutherland (1903-1980), a painter and designer employed by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to bear witness to the bomb damage in Wales and London, was commissioned by the House of Commons to paint a portrait of Winston Churchill in 1954. By Hannah Furness 10 July 2015 • 10:47 am Sutherland's portrait of Churchill, to mark his 80th birthday caused a sensation at its unveiling in 1954, and was subsequently destroyed by the sitter's wife. He had, in June, made a somewhat clumsy attempt to convene Eisenhower, Malenkov and himself in a three-power nuclear containment summit and had been quite soundly rebuffed. Winston Churchill. (British, 1903-1980) Graham Sutherland: A Bestiary (Exhibition Poster) Screenprint in colours, 1968, on wove, printed by Kelpra Studio, London, on the occasion of the artist's exhibition at Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London, the full sheet printed to the edges, 693 x 535mm (27 1/4 x 21in)(SH) For further information on this lot please visit the Bonhams website Nonetheless, he was given many prestigious commissions, and in 1960 was awarded the Order of Merit (one of many awards). Amazing article. Oct 9, 2012 - A tribute to the British artist and painter GRAHAM SUTHERLAND and his painting of Winston Spencer Churchill. In October 1957 Clementine had written to Lord Beaverbrook: “[It] will never see the light of day.”11 By then the ashes were long cold. 8 Black, Winston Churchill in Modern Art, 189. The British artist wasn’t known just for his landscapes – he was also a famous portraitist. Sutherland studied art at Goldsmiths College, London, after abandoning a railway engineering apprenticeship. Jennie Lee, wife of Churchill’s long-time adversary Aneurin Bevan, then suggested Graham Sutherland, who was establishing a reputation as a portraitist. Walter Hussey (1909–1985) ... English painter Graham Sutherland with his unfinished portrait of Winston Churchill, 1954. ... English painter Graham Sutherland with his unfinished portrait of Winston Churchill, 1954. Try to see h. im when he has got the greasepaint off his face.”3 Sutherland felt he had solved the problem after he was able to observe and sketch Churchill playing a combative game of bezique, his guard temporarily dropped. Sutherland called the destruction of his painting an “act of vandalism.” Churchill, who painted himself, felt betrayed by Sutherland, with whom he had formed a bond whilst sitting for the artist. 4 Jonathan Black, Winston Churchill in Modern Art: 1900 to the Present Day (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), 166. In 1954, English artist Graham Sutherland, who was considered the most eminent portrait painter of that time, was commissioned by Parliament to paint a full-length portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, that was to be a birthday present. Tragedy. Perhaps the most infamous of these was his painting of Churchill (1954), which was subsequently destroyed on the orders of Lady Churchill. After the war, in 1954, William Churchill famously commissioned Sutherland to paint a full-length portrait of him. [14] Although historical evidence suggests that Churchill's secretaries were the ones who actually destroyed the painting, the episode depicts Lady Spencer-Churchill watching it burn on the grounds of Chartwell House. Technically, no. On 4 May 1960 the bursar of Churchill College wrote asking for various items they might display, including the Sutherland. Sir Winston loathed it. Sir Peter Lely was the artist who painted the famous picture of Oliver Cromwell which portrayed the Lord Protector, at his own request ‘warts and all’. Sutherland made charcoal sketches of Churchill at a handful of sittings at Chartwell from August 1954, concentrating on Churchill's hands and face. Winston Churchill hated Sutherland's depiction of him. Artworks for Sale & Auction Results. By the time the portrait had been commissioned, Churchill was an elder statesman nearing the end of his second period as Prime Minister. 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