Mouton-Rothschild arty bottles. Image: barnebys.fr Mouton-Rothschild arty bottles. Image: barnebys.fr

Wine labels primary task is to inform us of the content, who the producer is, what grape and what year the wine was produced. But for a bottle to really pop, it needs more than its fine content. Here, we list ten times the art world has put its mark on wine labels.

1. Jean Carlu for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1924
During the 1920s Baron Philippe de Rothschild decided it was time to revamp his bottles, and for this, he put graphic designer Jean Carlu up to the test.

Jean Carlu for Mouton-Rothschild, 1924. Image: Mouton-Rothschild Jean Carlu for Mouton-Rothschild, 1924. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

The label for the 1924 Château Mouton-Rothschild shows traces of Carlu’s cubist and surrealistic tendencies, using red and earthy colours, geometrical shapes and sharp contrasts. The sheep, castle and the modern font is reminiscent of the loud style of ads at the time.

2. Salvador Dali for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1958
The labels were becoming more successful, and the prestigious wine house kept collaborating with some of the most renowned contemporary artists of the time, such as Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque and Henry Moore.

Salvador Dali for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1958. Image: Mouton-Rothschild Salvador Dali for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1958. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

In 1958, the leading face of Surrealism, Salvador Dali created the label. The label depicts a little lamb next to one lonely flower. The background is austere and the lamb is surrounded by a golden cloud matching the text underneath.

3. César for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967
In 1967 the french artist César Baldaccini created the label. César was was well known during the 1960s for his compressed car sculptures. When asked why he used scrapped metal he answered “Carrara marble was too expensive, there was old iron lying about all over the place”.

César for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967. Image: Mouton-Rothschild César for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

On the wine label, César created a minimalistic artwork of geometrical shapes and sharp colour contrasts between red and black in the background.

4. Joan Miró for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967
In 1969 it was the catalan artist, Joan Miró’s turn. A big red grape surrounded by abstract shapes and figures, with blue and yellow colours of Mouton-Rothschild. The result was unmistakably Miró.

Joan Miró for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967. Image: Mouton-Rothschild Joan Miró for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1967. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

Miró’s work for the winemaker was the starting point for many high profile collaborations with successful artists such as Marc Chagall and Wassily Kandinsky.

5. Wassily Kandinsky for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1971.
Many see Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky as one of the pioneers of abstract art. The artwork on the 1971 label was actually created in 1939 and consists of blue, green, red, white and yellow coloured geometrical shapes against a dark background.

Wassily Kandinsky for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1971. Image: Mouton-Rothschild Wassily Kandinsky for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1971. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

6. Andy Warhol for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1975.
Andy Warhol also made his mark on Baron Rothschild’s bottles, and just like Miró his contribution was characteristic for the King of Pop. The two portraits are of the Baron himself and are surrounded by a colour explosion of black, pink, green and orange.

Andy Warhol for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1975. Image: Mouton-Rothschild Andy Warhol for Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1975. Image: Mouton-Rothschild

7. Roy Lichtenstein for Taittinger Champagne, 1985
We leave Bordeaux and make our way north. In 1985, Roy Lichtenstein created a special edition bottle for champagne producer Taittinger. This was neither the first nor the last time that Taittinger used art for their bottles. Ever since 1983 Taittinger has teamed up with artists for their yearly special editions.

 Roy Lichtenstein for Taittinger Champagne, 1989. Image: RoGallery Roy Lichtenstein for Taittinger Champagne, 1989. Image: RoGallery

In this example, it is more than just a label. Lichtenstein covered the entire bottle and its box with his yellow, white and Yves Klein blue work of art.

8. Geluck for Domaine Mercier Vins, 1997
The winner of the Swiss Sierre Comic Book Festival gets his or hers comic creation printed on a wine label. In 1997 the cartoonist Philippe Geluck’s fat and wine-loving cat won, landing a place on the label of Domaine Mercier Vins.

Geluck for Domaine Mercier Vins, 1997. Image: Delcampe Geluck for Domaine Mercier Vins, 1997. Image: Delcampe

9. Yoko Ono for Chianti Nittardi Classico, 2005
We leave France for neighbouring country Italy and the Nittardi vineyards of Chianti. In the 16th century, Nittardi was owned by the renaissance master, Michelangelo. Since 1981, the producers have had artists create their wine labels to honour their former owner.

Yoko Ono for Chianti Nittardi Classico, 2005. Image: The Drink Business Yoko Ono for Chianti Nittardi Classico, 2005. Image: The Drink Business

In 2005, Yoko Ono put the words ‘Imagine You’ on the label as a tribute to her late husband John Lennon, with whom she co-wrote the song Imagine. Above the text you can see bottles and glasses drawn in small dotted lines.

10. David Hockney for Mouton-Rothschild, 2014
We will end the list the way we started it - in Bordeaux at Château Mouton-Rothschild. In 2014, David Hockney designed a very special label as a tribute to his newly departed and close friend, Baron Philippe de Rothschild. With two wine glasses against a blue background, one of them empty and the words Tribute to Philipine - Hockney remembers his friend, who just finished his last glass of wine.

David Hockney for Mouton-Rothschild, 2014. Bild: Mouton-Rothschild David Hockney for Mouton-Rothschild, 2014. Bild: Mouton-Rothschild

These are just a few of the many artist who have graced wine labels with their art. Today, the bottles are valuable collector’s items and many strive to collect all of Mouton-Rothschild special editions from 1945 until today. But so far, no one has succeeded.

Maybe some of them can be found under Barnebys Wine & Spirits category

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