Since 1945, the labels of Château Mouton-Rothschild have been illustrated by the work of a contemporary artist. Last year, the honour was bestowed upon Prince Charles to celebrate 100 years of the Entente Cordial between Britain and France.
Prince Charles' watercolour, of pine trees at Cap d'Antibes on the Cote d'Azur, was not painted specially for the château, but was selected personally by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. The château began this tradition with the iconic 1945 'V' for Victory bottle designed by Philippe Jullian. Since then each different artist commissioned for each year is paid in wine: 5 cases of the currant drinkable vintage followed by 5 cases from the artist's year of birth.
The names which have adorned the Mouton label read like a Who's Who of eminent 20th century artists: Chagall, Dali, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon to name but a few. The only vintage without a label is for the 2000 vintage, where the bottle was engraved in gold depicting the famous Mouton rams, whilst 1978 has two different label designs.
This year for the 2005 vintage Baroness Philippine de Rothschild has decided to entrust the label art to Italian sculptor Guiseppe Penone.
According to the artist, his Mouton 2005 label is designed to represent the growth of the vine leaf and, at the same time, the splayed hand of the drinker, soon to grab a glass of Mouton.
To see illustrated examples of the entire collection see article Sotheby's Labels Mouton Mania in Avenue Vine.
Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com