The Paintings for the Labels Room contains the originals of the artworks created by contemporary artists to illustrate the labels of bottles of Mouton Rothschild since 1945. The artworks were first chosen by Baron Philippe, then by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. The choice is now made by Baroness Philippine’s younger son, Julien de Beaumarchais. Since 2013 the works, shown in a display by the designer Francis Lacloche, have been in residence in a room next to the vat room and open to the public – at least when they are not travelling around the world with the Paintings for the Labels exhibition !
An exhibition to which a new work is added each year, bringing together from one label to the next the most famous, and very different, contemporary artists.
The paintings for the labels room
The works, strikingly presented in glass display cases by the designer Francis Lacloche, have been in residence since 2013 in a dedicated gallery next to the vat room.
Guy de Rougemont’s columns punctuate the space in which the Paintings for the Labels exhibition is displayed.
1924 Jean Carlu
Jean Carlu made an enormous contribution to commercial art. He was one of the first graphic designers to recognise the value of clean line and strong colour in fixing a brand image in the mind of the buying public; these same qualities give Carlu’s posters their power as works of art.
1986 Bernard Séjourné
Séjourné’s work holds echoes of some ancient culture: women with long graceful necks and half-closed eyes; seashells and tropical flowers; the subtle charm of pastel colours and smooth, wave-like shapes. His trio of masks rising from the dark in their “white negritude” for the label of Mouton Rothschild 1986 is one of the finest examples of his work.
1990 Francis Bacon
Bacon was a great lover of wine, sometimes even to excess. For the 1990 Mouton Rothschild label, he took as his inspiration a wine glass, choreographing his own vivid rhythms against the curve of the bottle.
For the 1992 Mouton Rothschild label, Kirkeby has drawn the outline of a gigantic wine glass, overflowing with dark red wine, set against a distorted landscape where the rays of the sun mesh and interweave with the colour and intersecting perspectives of the vines.
1997 Niki de Saint-Phalle
From the sun to the plate, taking in a sensual mouth and an outstretched hand, Niki de Saint Phalle’s composition for Mouton is a sparkling, festive allegory of the pleasures of the table. And then, running across the painting, there is the “Niki-object”, springing from a story as old as the world itself: the serpent tempter. But instead of the traditional apple, this serpent, more wine-loving than malign, is offering Eve a bottle … of Mouton Rothschild 1997 no doubt !
Seventy-five years after Jean Carlu, the poster designer who created the first artist’s label for Mouton Rothschild in 1924, the wheel has come full circle with the design for the 1999 vintage by another master of poster art, Savignac.
In his drawing for the label of Mouton Rothschild 2005, he has chosen to evoke the vine-grower’s “green fingers”, a living expansion of the vine leaf and at the same time the splayed hand of the drinker – soon to close round a glass of Mouton! In 2013, Penone was chosen by the Château de Versailles to be its artist of the year.
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