Winston Specer Churchill has been my political inspiration, example and idol for 50+ years, I visited just about everything from him to his grave in the UK. This hurts, the theft shows no respect for the statesman and world famous photographer, I very much hope it gets back where it should be.
He foresaw what is happening in Europe now, people never wanted to listen. @annozijlstra
Iconic Churchill photo stolen months ago, theft only discovered now
The Canadian capital Ottawa is under the spell of the disappearance of a photo of Winston Churchill. The iconic portrait of the frowning British statesman hung in a hotel, but turns out to have been swapped for a copy months ago. The theft was only discovered last week. Police have launched an investigation.
The photo was taken in 1941, shortly after Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament about World War II. It is the best-known work of Canadian-Armenian portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh, who wanted a photo without Churchill’s inseparable cigar.
“I held out an ashtray, but he wouldn’t throw the cigar away,” Karsh later recalled. “Then I walked up to him and said, forgive me sir, and I plucked the cigar from his mouth.” The moment the photographer returned to his camera, Churchill looked “so combative he could have devoured me”. The photo was later used, among other things, on the British 5 pound note.
The picture hung in the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa, where Karsh stayed for a long time and had a studio. A collection of his work has been on display in the reading room for decades.
Last week, employees noticed that the frame with Churchill’s photo was not straight. They then discovered that the frame did not match the frames of other photos of Karsh, also hanging in the lounge. After investigation and consultation with Karsh’s heirs, it was determined that the photo has been replaced by a copy.
After a call from the public to send photos of the reading room, the manager concludes that the theft must have taken place between December 25, 2021 and January 6, 2022. “I showed this photo to guests almost daily and we never noticed it”, said hotel manager Geneviève Dumas. “It’s done professionally. It’s very similar to the original.”
An art theft expert thinks it’s the thieves for the money, reports CTV News. “The thief knew what he was doing, this was not a whim. The person who did this is neither an art lover nor a photography enthusiast.” According to the expert, the photo could fetch more than $100,000.