Daniel Arsham aligns his creative touch with the exceptional anniversary cuvée that expresses the Haute Oenologie of the House Moët & Chandon. [read the full champagne story]
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Paris, 2 October 2023
Moët & Chandon is delighted to announce its first collaboration with the contemporary American artist, Daniel Arsham, to mark the Maison’s 280th anniversary. In a transcendental artistic tribute to the heritage of the House, Arsham has created an avant-garde masterpiece and 85 collectible limited editions that will accompany Moët & Chandon’s launch of a multilayered new cuvée, Collection Impériale Création No. 1, embodying the Maison’s vision of Haute Oenologie.
‘Daniel’s unique take on Moët & Chandon’s heritage beautifully captures the essence of our history and our craft. A consummate artist of our time, Daniel approached his work in much the same way that we have approached the crafting of Collection Impériale Création No. 1: as an artistic endeavor made today, shaped by traditions of the past, but intended to go on well into the future,’says Benoît Gouez, Moët & Chandon’s Cellar Master.
An inspired collaboration with contemporary artist Daniel Arsham
Seeking a convergence of art and the artistry of winemaking, Moët & Chandon extended an invitation to the visionary Daniel Arsham to translate the essence of Cellar Master Benoît Gouez’s idea of Haute Oenologie – embodied in Collection Impériale Création No. 1 – into a masterpiece.
One of the preeminent artists of his generation and hailed as the Archaeologist of the Future, Arsham intertwines the essence of time within his contemporary creations, seamlessly bridging the realms of past, present and future in a variety of materials. Arsham’s remarkable artistic prowess harmoniously converges with the craft of champagne-making, a savoir-faire inherently bound by the concept of time, from harvest to the slow maturation of champagnes in the cellars. His talent was particularly attuned to Moët & Chandon’s new Collection Impériale Création No. 1, a timeless oenological creation that is a product of the House’s centuries-old savoir-vin, composed as an assemblage of seven remarkable vintages from different years and aged in distinct environments to enhance their individual qualities. As such, Arsham’s aesthetic approach found a particularly fitting synergy with the House’s inherently time-sensitive champagne-making expertise.
During a springtime visit to Epernay, Arsham explored the estate of Moët & Chandon in the company of Benoît Gouez. While the natural beauty of the vineyards and the historical legacy preserved within the House’s centuries-old cellars left an indelible impression on the artist, a large stained glass by Félix Gaudin, that has adorned the entrance of the cellars since the late 1890s, piqued his curiosity. Its central figure titled “La Renommée” is an allegorical representation of the global reputation and success of Moët & Chandon, which depicts the connection between the House’s abundance and its achievements through depictions of its bountiful vineyards and the savoir-faire of its winemakers.
An avant-garde masterpiece and collectible limited editions
Drawing elements from his eye-opening tour of Moët & Chandon’s estate and the stained glass, Arsham created a monumental, sculptural, wall-mounted work of art – a shallow relief – that weaves a modern narrative by encapsulating the essence of the House’s legacy in an avant-garde masterpiece. Two central putti gracefully raise a plaque adorned with “1743,” the year the House was founded by Claude Moët; a female mythological figure – the Greek deity “Pheme,” personification of fame and renown, joyously toots a trumpet, resounding far and wide the reputation of the House; the architectural façade of the Château de Saran evokes the family saga of the Maison; the sprawling vineyards extending into the horizon represent the abundance of the House’s natural estate; and a wooden wine barrel – a nod to the oak casks used for the aging of some of the vintages assembled in this cuvée d’exception – pays tribute to the oenological expertise and imperial connection that distinguishes the House.
Recalling the chalky soils of the Champagne region that grace Moët & Chandon’s cellars, Arsham selected a white cast resin as the medium for his creation. Subtle traces of visible erosion caress this masterpiece, instilling a sense of the passage of time with Arsham’s signature touches that infuse the artwork with an enigmatic and timeless quality.
Measuring 3 meters in length and 1.3 meters in height, Arsham’s relief will take its rightful place in the Galerie Impériale, as a permanent fixture in the cellars of Moët & Chandon. Becoming an integral part of the legacy of the House, this masterpiece will captivate visitors with its timeless modernity juxtaposed harmoniously with the ancient walls that surround it.
Drawing inspiration from his relief, Arsham ingeniously designed 85 limited-edition bottles — extraordinary three-dimensional time capsules that serve as packaging for Collection Impériale Création No. 1. These exquisite artist-designed objects transcend their utilitarian purpose as collectibles that will endure long after the champagne they hold is savored, enchanting discerning owners for years to come.
An authentic encounter of two creators of time
Asham’s artistic process draws a striking parallel with the masterful blending and aging of vintages by Benoît Gouez. Just as the Cellar Master has skillfully combined champagnes from diverse years to craft the extraordinary Collection Impériale Création No. 1, Arsham has creatively composed his own artwork using carefully curated elements sourced from the universe of Moët & Chandon. This harmonious synergy is a testament to the genuine collaboration between the artist and the House, and the authenticity of their partnership in celebration of the Maison’s timeless legacy.
In turn, Daniel Arsham acknowledged that in creating Collection Impériale Création No. 1, the Cellar Master’s delicate interplay of vintages mirrored his own sculptural composition.
“In tasting Collection Impériale Création No. 1, I realized how nuanced the process of champagne-making is, and how the layering of different years and harvests resembles the art of composing a sculpture. Benoît Gouez’s work in selecting, aging and blending vintages is similar to my own work such that this project represents to me a true and organic collaboration with Moët & Chandon’s Cellar Master,” says the artist Daniel Arsham.
ABOUT MOËT & CHANDON
Moët & Chandon was founded in 1743 by Claude Moët and elevated to international renown by his descendant, Jean-Remy Moët, who dreamt of “sharing the effervescence of Champagne with the world.” From royal court to red carpet, Studio 54 to Grand Slams,
Moët & Chandon has been bringing people together around thrilling, extraordinary moments. With the largest, most diverse vineyards in the region, the House offers a universal & versatile portfolio of champagnes for every occasion and palate. Easy to love, each creation in white and rosé – from the iconic Moët Impérial to the refined Grand Vintage Collection, from the refreshing Moët Ice Impérial to the gentle Nectar Impérial, and the multilayered Collection Impériale, the newest expression of the House’s art of Haute Oenologie – dazzles and delights with a broad spectrum of flavors and aromas to capture the astonishing breadth of its terroir. Through Natura Nostra, Moët & Chandon’s long-term sustainability program, the House works to protect biodiversity in the region and, since 2009, Moët & Chandon also supports philanthropic initiatives through Toast for a Cause. For nearly three centuries, Moët & Chandon has been the champagne of choice to mark both significant events in history and personal celebrations, enhancing each toast with the spark of effervescence.