1993 Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine labels-Balthus

This auction is for three original Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine labels from 1993. Illustrated by artist Balthus, the original artwork depicts a young nude female. Though initially approved by the US Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms, the label was later voluntarily withdrawn after women's groups in California voiced their objections. Phillipine de Rothschild then released the blank label in the United States, with the background color from Balthus' original art. The complete story is posted below.

This listing includes both labels, as well as the back label from the US market, which explains the controversy. Please note - the back label is NOT the same size as the front labels - it is smaller. All three are very rare labels and are in near-mint condition. The Balthus label is very scarce in the United States, while the blank label and the back label are very difficult to find outside the USA.

These are actual scans from the labels being auctioned. As you can see, the blank label for the US market is designated as "specimen." The worldwide label with the controversial Balthus artwork is also a specimen, but not at all visible. It is actually embossed, with tiny raised letters, about an inch long, near the young model's left leg.

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For this item, shipping is a flat fee of $3.00 anyw in the U.S. or Canada and $7.00 USD for international shipping. I typically ship within one business day.

I will be listing more labels, most from 1945-71, but also both rare 1993 labels, without and with the Balthus artwork, a young nude female. These were distributed worldwide, but not in the US, because women's groups objected. If you'd like to receive an e-mail alert as I list these labels in the weeks ahead, or if you have any other questions, please e-mail me:


The back page. (withdrawal of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild label in US market)

From: Wines & Vines | Date: 2/1/1996 | Author: Walker, Larry

The Legion of the Politically Correct Thought Police have struck again. The new Mouton-Rothschild label for the 1993 vintage features a sketch by the French artist Balthus of a nude young woman, described in press material as an adolescent girl, although one would almost have to take the artist's word that the creature on the label is a female.

(Balthus is the pseudonym of Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola, a reclusive 88-year-old artist.)

The figure is shown lounging in a somewhat fuzzy, dreamy pose, hardly what I would think of as provocative. It is very vague in physical detail, not at all shocking or tempting in a sexual way.

Nonetheless, the "northern California wire community' and "women's groups" objected to the label and Mouton-Rothschild has withdrawn it from the U.S. market. The rest of the world is presumably considered to be mature enough to look at a very neutral sketch of a young woman without lusting after 13-year-olds. The label will appear in the U.S. with that portion containing the sketch blank.

The PC forces were (apparently) alerted by San Francisco Chronicle wine writer, Gerald D. Boyd. I've known and respected Boyd's writing (and palate) for more years than probably either of us care to remember, but I do think he is off base on this call.

In the Chronicle of 6 December, Boyd wrote: "Nearly every year since 1945, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, one of the most coveted red wines in the world, has adorned each new vintage with an artist's label. For me, this year's label fails the taste test."

Boyd quotes from the press release: "The drawing made for Mouton-Rothschild 1993 returns to a recurrent motif in his work: the dreamy adolescent girl, wi...

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