Painting of Winston Churchill by Artist Whose Work He Hated Is up for Auction 

Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
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Painting of Winston Churchill by Artist Whose Work He Hated Is up for Auction 

Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)
Matthew Floris, a Sotheby's employee poses with a portrait, a surviving study of Winston Churchill in the bedroom where Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, north of Oxford, home to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill's family home, on April 16, 2024. (AFP)

A portrait of Winston Churchill by an artist whose work the British leader loathed went on display Tuesday at Churchill’s birthplace ahead of an auction in June.

The painting by modernist artist Graham Sutherland was made in preparation for a larger portrait that Churchill hated and which was later destroyed — an episode recounted in the TV series “The Crown.”

The surviving oil-on-canvas study shows Churchill’s head in profile against a dark background. It is expected to sell for between 500,000 pounds and 800,000 pounds ($622,000 and $995,000) at Sotheby’s in London on June 6.

Sutherland was commissioned by the Houses of Parliament to paint Churchill to mark his 80th birthday in 1954. The full-length portrait was unveiled in Parliament that year, with Churchill calling it, with a smirk, “a remarkable example of modern art.”

Churchill is said to have complained that the painting “makes me look half-witted, which I ain’t.” It was delivered to his home and never seen again. The Churchill family disclosed years later that it had been destroyed.

Its fate was recreated with poetic license in an episode of “The Crown” in which Churchill’s wife, Clementine, watches the painting go up in flames.

Andre Zlattinger, Sotheby’s head of modern British and Irish art, said that in the surviving study, “Churchill is caught in a moment of absent-minded thoughtfulness, and together with the backstory of its creation, it gives the impression of a man truly concerned with his image.”

Sotheby’s put the picture on public display inside the room where Churchill was born 150 years ago at Blenheim Palace, a country mansion 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of London. Visitors can see it there until Sunday. It will go on show at Sotheby’s offices in New York May 3-16 and London May 25-June 5.



Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
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Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)

Colombia’s congress voted Tuesday to ban bullfights in the South American nation, delivering a serious blow to a centuries-old tradition that has inspired famous songs and novels but has become increasingly controversial in the countries where it is still practiced.

The bill calls for the banning of bullfights in a three-year span, making the tradition illegal by the start of 2028. The new law now needs to be signed by President Gustavo Petro, who has been a longtime opponent of these events.

Bullfighting originated in the Iberian Peninsula and is still legal in a handful of countries, including Spain, France, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico.

It was once a popular event, broadcast live by multiple television networks. But the tradition has come under increased scrutiny as views change about animal welfare, and many find it unacceptable to see an animal suffer for entertainment's sake.

“This ban is a huge victory for organizations that have worked to transform society and reject violence against animals," said Terry Hurtado, an animal rights activist and city council member in Cali, who has been leading protests against bullfights since the 1990s. “I feel relieved that bulls and horses (which also participate in some bullfights) in Colombia will no longer be tortured, and that children will no longer be exposed to this spectacle.”

In bullfights, a matador faces bulls that are bred to be aggressive. The matador taunts the bull with a red cape and kills the animal with the blow of a sword after it has been injured with lances and daggers, and is tired of charging at the matador in a circular arena.

In Colombia, where bullfights have been held since colonial times, less than two dozen municipalities continue to hold these events, although the annual bullfights in the city of Manizales still draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Bullfighting aficionados described the ban as an assault on the freedoms of minorities as well as a problem for cities where these events draw thousands of visitors.