Painted as a benevolent public face for his wife Clementine Churchill's Aid to Russia Fund, Arthur Pan's 1942 portrait of Sir Winston Churchill is a startling reproduction from life of the man who so eloquently ensured Britain's continued courage and resilience during World War II. The subject of countless prints and reproductions, the original is currently hung prominently at the Merchant Venturer's Hall in London. Intended as the foundation for a printed facsimile, Pan's portrait of Churchill was circulated along with a signature and quotation, "We are all of us defending... a Cause,... The Cause of Freedom and Justice; of the Weak against the Strong; Law against Violence; Mercy and Tolerance against Brutality and Iron Bound Tyranny”. Drawing immediate critical acclaim, Pan's portrait featured as a double spread in a leading London Newspaper on Christmas Day 1943, at the height of the apocalyptic war. Originally born in Hungary and trained at the Budapest Academy of Art, Pan had been an established society painter since 1920. Until the end of his career in 1960 he continued to paint world leaders, society figures, and heads of state, imbuing them with warmth and gravitas.
His 1942 Sir Winston Churchill was commissioned to accompany a charitable campaign to relieve the sufferings of the Russian populace who were being ravaged by the war and suffering incomparable losses. Various aid agencies were set up, often barely effective due to their diversity and scope, and were consequently merged into one national agency; the Aid to Russia Fund. Set up in 1941 before the scale of the horror of the Nazi invasion of Russia was apparent, Clementine, the wife of Winston Churchill, was instated as the Chairman. Raising almost £10 million, the fund sent much-needed supplies and medical equipment to those in dire need. With the benefit of hindsight and the ferocity with which Churchill later became an opponent of the Soviet Union, Pan's portrait is a curious image, but a fine articulation of the towering statesman.
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