Château Mouton-Rothschild has released the artists' label for its 1999 vintage – a playful bucking ram in a woolly orange sweater.
The artist, Raymond Savignan, is credited with inventing ‘le gag visuel’ and with reintroducing humour into French poster art. He is one of France’s most renowned poster painters, shooting to prominence in 1949 with his depiction of a cheerful cow to advertise Monsavon soap.
Savignac’s other work – as familiar to the French public as the Michelin man – includes posters for Bic, Dunlop, Perrier, Cinzano and Gitanes. In 1958 he released a variation on the famous Pathé news cockerel.
Since 1924 Mouton-Rothschild has been commissioning artists to design labels for its first wines. And they are no ordinary daubers – the roll call includes some of the most celebrated names of the century. Henry Moore, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Paul Delvoix, Marc Chagall, Dalí, Balthus, Francis Bacon and a host of others have all designed for Mouton.
According to tradition, Savignac will not be paid, but reimbursed with cases of the wine adorned with his work.
Written by Adam Lechmere10 December 2001