While it’s been nearly five years since Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s split, the actress is just getting around to selling off something her ex gifted her while they were still married. Lucky for Angie, the gift was worth a pretty penny.
On Monday, March 1, the Maleficent star, 45, auctioned off a painting gifted to her by the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood actor, 47. The piece of art—titled “Tower of Koutoubia Mosque”—was painted by none other than former British prime minister Winston Churchill. The rare artwork depicts a Moroccan landscape, and it marks the only painting Churchill made between 1939 and 1945 during World War II. According to a source with knowledge of the sale, it is believed that Brad purchased the painting for Angelina in 2011, paying a reported $2.95 million for it at the time.
Nearly a decade later, Jolie has sold the work again at Christie’s Modern British Art Evening Sale auction in London for a record-breaking price of £8.3 million—which amounts to around $11.5 million with fees. This is reportedly the highest price anyone has ever paid for a painting by Churchill.
“When we sold the ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’ by Winston Churchill [to Brad Pitt], it was valued at just under $3 million, a fair price for such a historic work,” Bill Rau of New Orleans antique dealer, 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.”
Rau continued, “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.”
Prior to Brad’s purchase, Churchill’s painting was gifted to president FDR before being passed down to his son. In 1950, the painting was sold to an art collector and later landed in the hands of movie producer Norman G. Hickman. After Hickman’s death, his family inherited the art and kept it tucked away in a closet for fifteen years until it eventually ended up back on the auction circuit.
As Rau says, it’s no doubt that passing through the hands of Hollywood’s “most famous couple” just about quadrupled the painting’s value—even if that Hollywood couple has ended in divorce. The couple, who share kids Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne, split in 2016. They have been in the midst of an ongoing custody battle ever since.