Jeff Koons Designs Special Chateau Mouton Rothschild Art label

The commission to illustrate the latest Chateau Mouton Rothschild vintage label has been given by the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild to the American sculptor Jeff Koons. The image has just been released for a public viewing, a first for ArtLyst. Koons born 1955, has created it in the vein of a Pop/kitsch neo classical drawing, where he takes familiar objects and uses a wide variety of techniques to illuminate them with colours, distort and recreate them. For a time he was the world’s wealthiest living artist, before Damien Hirst stole the honour. While the exhibition of his works at the Château de Versailles in 2008 aroused high passions. Koons also revisits Antiquity, as with this Birth of Venus, a fresco from Pompeii, which his silver drawing turns into a Venus with Vessel – both the cup which holds and the ship which, under a bright sun, bears off into the distance an exquisite wine… Surely Mouton Rothschild 2010!

Every year since 1945, a great artist has created an original artwork for the Château Mouton Rothschild label. Thus, on the initiative of Every year since 1945, the Château Mouton Rothschild label has been illustrated with an original artwork by a great contemporary painter. In 1924, to salute his first vintage bottled entirely at the château, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988), Baroness Philippine’s father, asked the famous poster designer Jean Carlu to create the Mouton label. Ahead of its time, it remained an isolated initiative.

In 1945, this time to celebrate the return of peace, he decided to crown the label for the vintage with the “V” for Victory, drawn by the young painter Philippe Jullian. From this exceptional circumstance a tradition was born and, from 1946, every year a different artist was invited to create an original artwork for the label. Initially, Baron Philippe chose painters from amongst his friends, such as Jean Hugo, Léonor Fini and Jean Cocteau. In 1955, Georges Braque agreed to illustrate the vintage, and he was succeeded by the greatest artists of our time, including Dali, César, Miró, Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Soulages, Bacon, Balthus, Tàpies, etc., forming a fascinating collection to which a new work is added each year.

Responsible for choosing the artists since the 1980s, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, the owner of Mouton, always respects their artistic freedom, though most of them are attracted by certain themes, such as the vine, the pleasure of drinking or the ram, the emblem of Mouton. The artists receive no fee for their work but are given cases of Mouton Rothschild, including of course “their” vintage.

Since 1981, on Baroness Philippine’s initiative, the collection has given rise to a travelling exhibition, “Mouton Rothschild, Paintings for the Labels”, based at Mouton and shown in many museums throughout the world.

2010 was a dry and relatively cool year, with an ideal amount of sunshine and a few showers at just the right time, in mid-June and early September.
A dry and cool spring was followed by a generally dry summer with some very hot spells. The harvest took place in excellent conditions between 28 September and 13 October. Naturally concentrated, the grapes were small and their juice, rich and highly coloured, displayed good acidity.

The wine is a dark and intense red with a blueish tint. With Cabernet Sauvignon predominant, it displays a complex range of aromas. From lightly toasted vanilla notes, the nose opens with airing to reveal fruit aromas, especially blackcurrant and black cherry. Powerful and well-integrated tannins reveal exceptional depth and roundness on the palate, ending on a fresh and mineral finish. Length, elegance, harmony: Mouton Rothschild 2010 promises to be a remarkable vintage – and a worthy successor to the 2009!

Born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955, the American sculptor Jeff Koons went to art school in Baltimore then Chicago, where he was introduced to Pop Art and the “ready made”. Moving to New York in 1976, he worked as a commodities broker while beginning to establish himself as an artist with the support, among others, of gallery owners Daniel Weinberg and Ileana Sonnabend. He came to the attention of the general public in 1986 with his stainless steel Inflatable Rabbit, followed by the anti- consumer satire of his Luxury and Degradation series and Made in Heaven, a libertine graphic series with La Cicciolina, a provocative Italian actress who was his companion from 1991 to 1994.
Proving his status as a leading figure of contemporary art, in 1997 his Puppy, a monumental dog covered in flowers, was installed at the entrance to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; collectors snapped up his Pink Panther (1999) and Split Rocker (2000), a sculpture made with over 100,000 flowers; in 2008, his Balloon Flower (Magenta) in metal made him for a time the world’s most expensive living artist, while the exhibition of 17 of his works at the Château de Versailles aroused high passions. “The proudest moment of my life”, he declared at the time.

The heir of both Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, Koons felicitously combines the Pop Art tradition with the kitsch aesthetic, whence his fondness for taking familiar objects and icons of popular culture and using a wide variety of techniques to illuminate them with colours, distort, appropriate and recreate them.

He also revisits Antiquity, as with this Birth of Venus, a famous fresco from Pompeii, which his silver drawing turns into a Venus with Vessel – both the cup which holds and the ship which, under a bright sun, bears off into the distance the most exquisite of wines… Surely Mouton Rothschild 2010!

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