LOUIS VUITTON X JEFF KOONS
In recent years, Louis Vuitton has affirmed its engagement with the world of art through a series of high-profile collaborations with the most influential artists of our times. Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson and Daniel Buren have worked with Louis Vuitton on commissioned artworks, the development of new products and the staging of fashion shows, expanding the House’s role as both patron and curator in creating new ways for the public to experience the arts. This relationship culminated in 2014 in the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, a distinctive art museum designed by Frank Gehry.
In the French House’s latest collaboration, Louis Vuitton is working with the New York-based artist Jeff Koons to create a new range of bags and accessories to be launched on 28th April. One of the most widely recognised figures in contemporary art, Koons has brought imagery from his long-standing ‘Gazing Ball’ paintings – a series of large-scale hand-painted reproductions of works by the Old Masters – to a range of Louis Vuitton products. His re-creations of masterpieces by da Vinci, Titian, Rubens, Fragonard and Van Gogh have been transposed on to such iconic Louis Vuitton bags as the Speedy, the Keepall and the Neverfull. Pushing its know-how to new limits, Louis Vuitton has employed the most advanced techniques and craftsmanship to faithfully reproduce the artworks on the canvas of the bags.
In choosing works which themselves consciously referenced paintings of the past, Koons’s ‘Gazing Ball’ series of paintings placed the artist within a chain of influence and inspiration that runs through the history of Western art. Now, by re-presenting these celebrated pieces on Louis Vuitton bags, Koons once again invites viewers to consider these works anew, opening the museum to the world and encouraging us to experience the Old Masters in novel ways. The bags are realised using the highest quality materials, and each one is boldly emblazoned with the name of the original artist whose work is re-presented.
Koons has also reconfigured the famous Louis Vuitton Monogram to bear his initials. This represents a radical departure for the House, which has never previously allowed its iconic pattern to be reshaped. Just as the ‘Gazing Ball’ paintings placed Koons within the lineage of art history, so this collaboration situates the artist within the heritage of Louis Vuitton itself, demonstrating the power of the artistic gesture to connect the present day with a shared cultural history.
Elements from this new monogram have been crafted by Louis Vuitton in metal and placed on the exterior of the bag, as has Koons’s own signature. Each bag also carries a tag in the shape of the inflatable rabbit which has proved to be an enduring motif in Koons’s work throughout his 40-year career, while a biography and portrait of the Master whose work has been referenced is featured on the inside of the bag.
This spring’s launch represents the first stage of the collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons. Further chapters will be announced in an ongoing project that celebrates the possibilities of connection through the history of art.
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