In January of 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt flew secretly to Casablanca, a war zone, to meet with Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom. Roosevelt was intent on nailing down the Allied plan for defeating the Axis powers. But he also felt like taking a trip. Once the conference was over, Churchill suggested another trip. “You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech,” he said. To mark the meeting, in a sense to seal it with a kiss—for there was great affection between these two monumental men—Churchill painted the scene they saw in Marrakech and gave it to Roosevelt as a gift. Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque is now the highlight of Christie’s Modern British Art Evening Sale on March 1, where its estimated price is £1,500,000-2,500,000 ($2.1 million to $3.4 million). The painting—a paradisiacal image of succeeding horizons in gold, green, lavender, and blue, a mid-canvas line of mauve shadows marching like Arthurian (Allied!) pennants—is a poignant piece of history, a shared vision between the two leaders who held fast for a free world. —L.J.
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