Baroness Philippine de Rothschild
“Paintings for the Labels” at Wolfsonian
By Aaron Glickman
Wolfsonian-FIU Museum in Miami Beach during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
The baroness accompanied her celebrated traveling exhibition Mouton Rothschild: Paintings for the Labels, which displays the original artwork used on the Chateau Mouton Rothschild labels from 1945 to the latest 2006 vintage featuring the work of English portrait painter, Lucian Freud, whose label was revealed at an opening night reception.
“The guests were very interested in what they were seeing, which is not always the case on an opening night,” she continued. “They viewed the art and then came to talk to me about it. I thought it was absolutely charming and I was very taken by the Miami public.”
Baroness Rothschild’s perspective on Miamians has evolved like the city itself. “People were much more casual in the past,” she said. “They are a lot more interested in art than they once were.”
These sentiments are a profound acknowledgement coming from a woman who has been surrounded by the world’s most celebrated artists for her entire life.
Baroness Philippine de Rothschild
Harvey Chaplin, Baroness Philippine
de Rothschild, Roberta Chaplin,
Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais
Baroness Rothschild's artistic sense clearly comes from her father, Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The Museum of Wine in Art was started by the baron and is one of the treasures of Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
“Art is everyday and the labels are just one aspect, which my father started,” said the baroness. “He was an intellectual and he started the labels to celebrate the end of World War II… Mouton was completely occupied by the Nazis and my father bought our property back in 1945 and had to put something on the label to celebrate.”
Since then, some of the most renowned artists in the world, covering many artistic movements, have created pieces for the Chateau Mouton Rothschild label.
“I never impose any restrictions on the painter,” said the baroness. “I leave them very free. The only thing we ask the painters is that the work be horizontal. The only person who didn’t do it horizontal was Andy Warhol, who did three portraits of my father.”
The freedom that the baroness gives is a testament to her artistic sensibility, although it once led to controversy. Chateau Mouton Rothschild’s 1993 label by Balthus was banned in the United States.
“They accused me of doing kiddie porn,” she remembered jovially. “Can you imagine that? For me it was a little girl a bit naked. But some association for child pornography made a big fuss and they wanted to forbid the label from coming into America and they did. Finally, we had to send the wine with something else on the label and we put nothing. You don’t replace Balthus. Either it’s Balthus or it’s nothing. So, we left the label completely blank and it turned into a great amusement for American collectors to get the true labels by smuggling them. It was very extraordinary I have to say.”
Other contributors to the Chateau Mouton Rothschild label collection include: Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, Matta, Marc Chagall, Picasso, John Huston, Keith Haring, HRH The Prince of Wales and many more. Artists are paid in wine – 10 cases, or 120 bottles. Five cases are from the vintage that they illustrate and five cases are from other vintages that are drinkable immediately.
Mouton Rothschild: Paintings for the Labels ran for three weeks at the Wolfsonian Museum. “I love the Wolfsonian,” said the baroness. “It’s not a heavy museum, perfect for the exhibition.”