Churchill first met Nemon in Morocco in 1951, the year in which he became Prime Minister for the second time. Two years later, Nemon was commissioned by Her Majesty the Queen to make a sculpture of Churchill for the Royal Collection, in honour of the statesman's impending eightieth year. Churchill sat to Nemon at Chartwell, Downing Street and Chequers; this bust was cast by Nemon's son in the late 1990s and was presented to the Government Art Collection in 2004. It captures Churchill's solemn determination, so iconic and familiar to a modern audience, yet also suggests his wisdom and humanity.
Oscar Nemon was born in Osijek (today in Croatia), and began modelling in clay at the age of 14, after which he devoted himself to sculpture. In 1923 he lived in Vienna where he cast works at his uncle’s bronze foundry. He studied in Paris and at the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts, Brussels, and exhibited sculptures of notable figures in the 1930s. After moving to England, he settled in Oxford, and held his first exhibition in London in 1942. He became a British citizen, and received commissions for portraits of the Queen, Harold MacMillan, Sigmund Freud and other important 20th century figures. Nemon continued to work up to his death in 1985, and today many of his works can still be seen at his house and studio in Oxford.
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