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How you get Hockney, Dalí and Picasso to Design a Label

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Easy: pay them in wine. A spectacular roll call of world-class artists have created original works to celebrate vintages from this prestigious Médoc estate.

Of course, this is not just any wine estate. This is Chateau Mouton Rothschild which, along with Margaux, Haut-Brion, Latour and Lafite, enjoys first-growth status.

The Mouton Rothschild art labels are famous among both wine collectors and art connoisseurs. Over the years, a spectacular roll call of world-class artists have created original works to celebrate a vintage from this prestigious Médoc estate. Marc Chagall depicted a child and a thrush eating grapes, Henry Moore drew three golden chalices cradled in cupped hands, Salvador Dalí drew a squiggly sheep; Joan Miró's picture, very recognisably in his style, is centred on a large scarlet grape.

While the wine is highly collectible in its own right, the art labels have had the effect of uniquely intensifying the desire of collectors to own a complete set.

"Without a doubt, while many others have adopted [the practice of] putting art on labels, nothing comes close to the impact that it does with Mouton," says Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby's Wine. "With less well-regarded vintages, the price of a bottle of Mouton is higher than that of a comparable other property. Lesser vintages tend to be consumed earlier, so they disappear from the market, but they are still sought after by collectors wanting to complete a set."

There has been an art label of some sort pretty much every year since the 1920s, and including 1945 there are 74 in the set to date - 75 if you count the original from 1924. A bottle of the feted 1945 sold in a Zachys Michelin-restaurant auction last year for £9,920.

So, if you can't afford the wine, why not spend your life becoming a great artist, get invited to put a few squiggles together for Mouton Rothschild, and get paid by being given some of the most prized wine on Earth to consume at your leisure?



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