Wine lovers who buy a bottle of 2010 Château Mouton Rothschild can look forward to more than just good wine – with the bottle they also get a work of art. The label of the 2010 vintage has been specially designed by famous sculptor Jeff Koons. Koons’ technique of combining Pop Art and kitsch to distort and recreate objects is evident in the Venus with Vessel he has created for the label. The silver drawing takes the Pompeii fresco of the Birth of Venus and turns it into a Venus with Vessel. The silver lines depict a cup within which is a ship sailing off under the sun – obvious references to wine that is contained in the cup and in the ship that is ferrying the exquisite wine.
Koons was commissioned to design the label by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (pictured, left) following the initiative launched by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1924, when he asked his friend the famous poster designer, Jean Carlu to create the Mouton label. This practise was institutionalised in 1945. Since then every vintage has new label by a contemporary artist.
For the 1945 label, a “V” for “Victory” was drawn by Philippe Jullian. Subsequent artists whose work has been immortalised on the Mouton labels include Jean Hugo, Leonor Fini, Jean Cocteau, Dali, Cesar, Miro, Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Soulages, Bacon, Balthus and Tapies among others. The artists make the label gratis and are paid only in kind – with cases of Mouton Rothschild including “their” vintage.