Sunday, December 27, 2020

Château Mouton Rothschild Xu Bing 2018 Vintage label

Château Mouton Rothschild Selects Chinese artist Xu Bing design for Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2018 Vintage label 

My study in wine branding and marketing each year looks forward to the annual announcement of the selected artist and featured artwork for the vintage release of Château Mouton Rothschild

This week the legendary Château Mouton Rothschild announced the label for its 2018 vintage release. The new label will feature an original calligraphic artwork by Xu Bing, a leading Chinese artist printmaker and calligrapher. 

Xu Bing developed “square word calligraphy” as a system for writing English in the early 1990s after he came to New York. Although the rectangular units of writing resemble Chinese characters, each one is actually a word in English, in which the letters of each English word are organized into structures that resemble Chinese characters. 

Xu Bing's works have been exhibited at the British Museum in London, and the Museum of Modern Art and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, "An Introduction to Square Word Calligraphy" from 1994-1996.

Xu Bing’s 2018 design displays the name ‘Mouton Rothschild’ written in a unique script called Square Word Calligraphy. Xu Bing developed this artistic form of writing by reshaping Latin alphabet letters to resemble traditional Chinese characters, suggesting a blending of different cultures. 

Xu Bing’s previous work has showcased in several leading galleries and museums around the world and covers many different media, including wood engraving, large installations, and sculpture.

The 65-year-old Xu, born in 1955, first visited Château Mouton Rothschild in 2013 at the invitation of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. “I was impressed by her energy, her warm personality and her knowledge of the arts. She said that one day I should create a label for Mouton Rothschild,” Xu said in a press release Tuesday.

After the Baroness passed away in 2014 at age 80, the estate and vineyards were inherited by her three children, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild, and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild.

“So when Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild contacted me to illustrate the label for the vintage 2018, I took it as both an honor and an opportunity to pay tribute,” Xu said.

“When I discovered Xu Bing, I was captivated by him as an inventor of signs endowed with incredible poetic power,” Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild said in the release. “And then I said to myself that our labels were also signs, each work of art referring to a year: the 1973 vintage can also be called the ‘ Picasso Mouton, ’ just as the 2018 vintage will be called the ‘ Xu Bing Mouton ’.”

I have written about the Mouton art series in these pages in the feature Mouton Rothschild Wine Label Art Series.

As I have written in these pages, any study in wine branding and marketing at some point invites a discussion of art label series featuring original or reproductions of notable art or artists on the wine labels. No wine producer in the world captures the imagination or attention of wine collectors and wine art enthusiasts more than Mouton Rothschild with their annual artist series artist featured wine label.

Each year a renowned artist is commissioned to do the artwork for that vintage. The featured artist is said to be paid ten cases of various vintages of the classic Chateau Mouton Rothschild for their work. Most every collector dreams of collecting a 'vertical' collection (wines of multiple vintages of the same wine) of the classic premium First Growth Bordeaux to display the 'artwork' of Mouton.

Mouton Rothschild Artist Labels have been produced by the world's most famous contemporary artists, Chagall (1970, Dali (1958), Picasso (1973), Miro (1969), Andy Warhol (1975), as well as other luminaries such as Prince Charles (2004) and Hollywood director John Huston (1982). Many other producers have established artist series, but there is only one Mouton Rothschild.

In 1945, Baron Philippe de Rothschild conceived the original idea of crowning the Mouton label with a work of art created for this purpose by famous artists; these have included paintings by Miró, Chagall, Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon, Balthus, amongst others.

Since then, only 4 vintages have not had Artist's labels: 1953 which celebrated the initial purchase of the Mouton property, 1977 when the Queen Mother stayed at Mouton and the Baron dedicated that year's vintage to her, 2000 where the label is enameled in gold with a reproduction of Jakob Schenauer's Augsburg Ram (seen in the linked to library series), and 2003 which is devoted to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild depicted in a period photograph celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 1853 acquisition of the Mouton estate by the family. 
Other recent vintage release labels:
Annette Messager
Mouton Rothschild 2017 Annetter Messager label Annette Messager was selected as the artist for the Mouton Rothschild 2017 label. Her design named ‘Hallelujah’ features the word repeated many times in waves on the artwork. The artwork also features imagery of a woman's breasts that refer to the combination of milk and wine.

The producer said of Messager’s work, ‘In an approach that is both realistic and symbolic, [Messager] combines two substances, milk and wine, which the Bible often associates with each other, hymning the virtues of both.’

The artist Messager was born in Bereck in Northern France in1943. She is known as a visual and graphic artist and has exhibited her work in the some of the world’s best-known galleries.
She won the prestigious Golden Lion award at Venice Biennale in 2005 and the Praemium Imperiale in Japan in 2016.

Several of her major works have been seen as commentary on identity, particularly around the perceptions of women by society and individuals.


William Kentridge
Mouton Rothschild 2016 South African artist William Kentridge designed the label for the 2016 vintage grand vin. The artwork named ‘The Triumphs of Bacchus’ incorporated a series of silhouettes for the Mouton Rothschild 2016 label.

Kentridge, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1955, and was the first artist from the African continent to illustrate a Mouton label.

The Kentridge label design shows a variety of silhouettes of Bacchus in what the first growth Château described as a joyful procession.

The work was inspired by Bacchic characters from the paintings of great artists, from Titian to Matisse, Mouton said.

One of the art forms most closely associated with Kentridge is the creation of animated film using charcoal drawings or black-card cut-outs, Mouton said. Kentridge has also become well-known for a variety of art forms, including sculpture and theatre.


Gerhard Richter
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Label 2015

The 2015 label was designed by German artist Gerhard Richter who is well known for a broad portfolio of paintings, abstracts, photographs and paintings on photographs dating back to 1962.

Since the mid 1980's he has created more than 2,000 Overpainted Photographs. His creation for the Mouton label is an abstract 'photo painting' using a unique 'flux' technique that combines photography and painting. The technique, involves spreading enamel paint on a plate of plexiglass which is then pressed against a glass plate. For the design, he photographed the fluctuating colours at the point he considered the composition to be 'momentarily harmonious'. The completed work consists of the one plate affixed of top of the other. His abstract style has been likened to famous artists including Picasso.

This year's artist and deign were chosen by Camille and Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, the next-generation owners of the famous wine estate.

Richter was born in Germany in 1932. His 1986 painting ‘Abstraktes Bild’ set a record auction price for a work by a living artist in October 2015, when it sold at Sotheby’s for over $40 million.

 The collection of Mouton Rothschild labels are all shown on my legacy Mouton Rothschild Art Label Library.

The official library is presented on the original Mouton Rothschild Official Label Art Site.

My Winesite Label Library lists the Mouton Rothschild Label Library Series Artists and associated works by the artists for reference or to aid in further exploration or research of the library and its history: 

Alpha Listing of Mouton Rothschild Label Artists

Chronological list of Mouton Rothschild artists with links to Wikipedia profiles and other artwork by Mouton Rothschild selected artists.