The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 21, 2018

Winston Churchill at his darkest hour...favourite painting on loan to National Portrait Gallery
Winston Churchill by William Orpen, 1916, Lent by the Churchill Chattels Trust; Image © National Portrait Gallery, London.

LONDON.- The National Portrait Gallery has been lent a major portrait of Winston Churchill, a rarely seen life-size painting by William Orpen, one of Britain’s most significant portrait painters and war artists. It goes on display at the Gallery from tomorrow, Thursday 1 November 2012.

Painted in 1916, during the darkest moment in the statesman’s career, Churchill regarded it as the finest portrait of himself. Capturing a mood of uncertainty in this introspective portrait, Orpen spoke of the misery expressed in the face. Churchill told the artist, ‘It is not the picture of a man. It is the picture of a man’s soul.’

Throwing himself into military strategy in the First World War, Churchill’s level of involvement ran the risk of his being held personally responsible for failure, as turned out to be the case in the Battle of Gallipoli, 1915-16, fought in the Dardanelles Straits and the Gallipoli peninsular. At Kitchener’s urging Churchill had tried to secure the Straits in a naval campaign, but it ended in disaster. By the time the troops were evacuated in 1916 some 46,000 allied troops had been killed. As a result of this event, Churchill resigned. His public reputation was only partly rehabilitated by the Dardanelles commission, 1916-1917, which concluded that he was not personally responsible for the failure of the operation.

This portrait was painted in the year of the Dardanelles commission. At this date Churchill had lost his position in government, and was preparing to defend himself against charges of incompetent and reckless leadership. Meetings of the commission were held in secret and Churchill was constrained in the evidence he was able to submit, reluctant as he was to damage Kitchener’s reputation.

Orpen’s portrait captures an important moment – a crisis in Churchill’s career – which evokes a very different impression from that of the defiant hero of later popular imagination. This questioning, deeply personal portrait illustrates a painful episode in Churchill’s early career, offering insights not only into the sitter, but also of the harrowing responsibilities of military leadership during the First World War.

By agreement between the estate of the late Winston S. Churchill (the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill) and the National Portrait Gallery, the portrait is now on long term loan to the National Portrait Gallery. This arrangement respects the wishes of the late Winston S. Churchill that the portrait should be shown at the Gallery, and meets the current requirements for public access for exempted works of art.

The five-by-four feet portrait is displayed prominently in the Gallery’s early 20th-century room, illustrating Churchill’s significance in the context of the First World War. In future years the portrait will be made available to the Churchill Museum (Imperial War Museum) for special displays.

The National Portrait Gallery owns paintings of Churchill by Ambrose McEvoy (c.1911-15), Walter Sickert (1927) and Graham Sutherland (1954). Churchill is also depicted by Sir James Guthrie in the large group portrait Statesmen of World War I.

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘I am very pleased that the Churchill family has agreed that this outstanding portrait by William Orpen of Winston Churchill, the nation's greatest 20th century statesman, should now be on public display.’

Today's News

November 1, 2012

Cologne's The Art.Fair grows into a respected forum of top-class international galleries

Marilyn Monroe photos spark buzz ahead of Polish auction at Dom Aukcyjny Desa Unicum

LACMA and the Academy present first Stanley Kubrick retrospective in the United States

Works by Diego Rivera and Fernando Botero lead Christie's Latin American Sale

Christie's to sell 230 artworks from the legendary London restaurants Langan's Brasserie and Odin's

Dalí self-portrait created for 'intimate friend' Federico Garcia Lorca smashes pre-sale estimate

Winston Churchill at his darkest hour...favourite painting on loan to National Portrait Gallery

With between 10,000 to 30,000 tourists each day, Vatican may have to limit visitors to Sistine Chapel

Julien's Auctions announces the highly anticipated Rock 'n' roll auction of the year

China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

October's end brings strong results at Bonhams Furniture & Decorative Arts Auctions

Christie's announces Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Autumn 2012 Auctions on November 28

Linda Connor presents photographs from house made iconic through the paintings of Andrew Wyeth

Japan collector puts Dali, Miro, Warhol on sale

Solo exhibtion of photography by David Chancellor opens at Jack Bell Gallery in London

World War II gadgets manual from MI9 worthy of Bond uncovered at Bonhams

The Gallery at Norwich University College of the Arts opens "Colin Self: One Thousand Sketches"

Corning Museum of Glass unveils 2012 Rakow Commission by Danish artist Steffen Dam

1959 lefty Les Paul 'burst brings $194,500 in Heritage's $1.24+ million Vintage Guitar event

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful