He may be best known for his balloon dog sculptures made of reflective coloured stainless steel, but no such pooches appeared on the 2010 label of Pauillac first growth Château Mouton Rothschild, which American neo-pop artist Jeff Koons recently designed.
As reported on db.com, Koons is the latest in a long line of artists to create an original work for the château, which, since 1945, has commissioned artists to design its labels. The roll call of alumni reads like a who’s who of modern art: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud all have their own vintages.
Owner and long time art lover Baroness Philippine de Rothschild commissioned Koons to create the label. In his design, he works over a Pompeii fresco of The Birth of Venus with a silver line drawing of a ship sailing under a bright sun. Influenced by both Duchamp and Warhol, Koons combines Pop Art with the kitsch aesthetic, transforming familiar objects with a wide variety of techniques.
The lauded 2010 vintage in Bordeaux was a dry and relatively cool year, with an ideal amount of sunshine. According to the château, the favourable conditions led to small, rich, naturally concentrated grapes both high in colour and natural acidity, with length, elegance and harmony being the hallmarks of the vintage.
A former commodities broker, for a time Koons was the world's most expensive living artist. In 1997, his Puppy, a giant dog covered in bright flowers, was installed at the entrance to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao where it still stands to this day. In 2008, an exhibition of 17 of his works appeared at the Château de Versailles.