Press Release

ATLANTA – In honor of the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death on January 24, 2015, the Millennium Gate Museum and the Churchill family have jointly organized an exhibition of the iconic statesman, wartime hero, and Nobel-prize winning historian’s lesser known but equally vibrant triumphs: his paintings, better and more humbly known among his friends and in his writings as his “daubs.”

On view at the Millennium Gate Museum from October 3, 2014-February 1, 2015, The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting will display over 30 paintings by Winston Churchill, many of which have never before been publicly exhibited.

Although described by Churchill as the product of a “pastime,” these paintings, and the nearly 500 others he completed, profoundly influenced his personal and professional life. Beginning in 1915 at the age of 40, painting pulled Churchill out of his darkest days and set him on his journey towards his finest hour. It was painting, he wrote, that helped him cope with the stress of political life, and painting that allowed him to be productive as he developed his thinking about the rising danger of Hitler and Nazi Germany. In addition, Churchill found that the skills he learned from painting made his leadership more effective, and he used his painter’s eye to achieve his political and diplomatic goals.

In comparison to previous exhibitions of Churchill’s work, The Art of Diplomacy presents a novel interpretation that places the act of painting at the center of Churchill’s evolving leadership – and, by extension, at the heart of twentieth century history. As Churchill wrote, “If it weren’t for painting I could not live. I couldn’t bear the strain of things.” If he was right – in the words of esteemed art historian Ernst Gombrich – “his painting may have helped to save Western civilization.”

Winston Churchill was Prime Minster from 1940-1945 and again from 1951-1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the twentieth century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, and a writer. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values. He was made an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963. Churchill’s family has maintained a legacy of influence and involvement in Georgia since its founding. His ancestor, John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, trained General James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, in military tactics. Churchill himself lectured and toured in Georgia in 1932.

This exhibition is organized by the Millennium Gate Museum and the family of Duncan Sandys.

The Millennium Gate Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret Georgia history, art, culture, and philanthropic heritage as well as highlight Georgia’s historical and aesthetic relevance to the United States and to the world.