Churchill painting auctioned by Truman's daughter

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LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) A painting by Winston Churchill, given by Britain's World War Two leader to US President Harry Truman, is expected to fetch up to one million dollars at auction in December.

Marrakech is an oil on canvas view of the Atlas mountains as a backdrop to one of the Moroccan city's gates. It has been in the Truman family since 1951 and has not been seen in public since it was exhibited at the World Fair in New York in 1965.

''Not only does Marrakech have extraordinary provenance, it is also a superb example of Churchill at his very best and it shows a subject which was very dear to his heart,'' said Frances Christie, art specialist at auction house Sotheby's.

Churchill was British prime minister from 1940-45 and again from 1951-55.

An avid amateur artist throughout his life, Churchill gave the painting to Truman's daughter Margaret over lunch at 10, Downing Street in 1951. She took it back to her father.

''I can't find words adequate to express my appreciation of the beautiful picture of the Atlas Mountains painted by you,'' Truman, US president from 1945-53, wrote to Churchill.

''I shall treasure the picture as long as I live and it will be one of the most valued possessions I will be able to leave to Margaret when I pass on.'' Truman died in 1972. The painting passed to Margaret who is selling it on December 13 in London.

In July, a view of Churchill's home, ''Chartwell Landscape with Sheep'', set a record for one of his works when it sold for one million pounds.

REUTERS SG VC1755

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