British artist Lucian Freud has created the label for the 2006 vintage of Château Mouton-Rothschild.
Freud, 86, the grandson of Sigmund Freud and recognised as one of the world’s greatest living painters, joins an illustrious line-up.
Artists commissioned over the last 60 years for the Mouton label include Cocteau, Braque, Picasso, Dali, Chagall, Miró, Warhol, Francis Bacon and the Prince of Wales, who painted a watercolour for the 2004 vintage.
Freud is perhaps best known for his controversial 2001 painting of the Queen – heavily criticised at the time in the UK’s tabloid press.
He also set a world record last May when one of his paintings, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, was sold at Christie’s in New York for $33.6m – the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist.
The Mouton label, rather than featuring the hyper-realistic nudes for which Freud is famed, or even the château’s traditional emblem of a ram, comprises a red-striped zebra and a potted palm tree.
Described by the château as ‘a joyously exotic transposition of the pleasure of drinking’, it directly recalls one of Freud’s early surrealist works, The Painter’s Room, which featured in his first solo exhibition in 1944.
Château Mouton-Rothschild’s label has been illustrated with an original artwork by a contemporary painter since 1945, when Baron Philippe de Rothschild commissioned the famous V for Victory label from Philippe Julian.
The artists involved receive no payment for the work, but are given cases of Mouton, including of the vintage which they have illustrated.
Written by Richard Woodard