Photographer : Maciek Kobielski
Photographer : Melanie + Ramon
In the luxury brand’s latest collaboration, Louis Vuitton is working with the New York-based artist Jeff Koons to create a new range of bags and accessories. One of the most widely recognized figures in contemporary art, Koons has brought imagery from his recent ‘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. 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.
These artworks represent both the visual breadth of the canon of art history and the interconnectedness of artists working across the centuries.
Now, by re-presenting these celebrated pieces on Louis Vuitton bags and boldly emblazoning each with the name of the original artist, 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.
Koons has also reconfigured the famous Louis Vuitton Monogram to bear his initials. This represents a radical departure for the luxury brand, 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.
The name of the original artist appears on each bag in big metallic letters, reflecting the viewer in a way that recalls the gazing ball in the original works. Koons’s signature is also present on the surface as a design element.
A biography and portrait of the original artist are printed on the interior of each bag, while a tag in the silhouette of the blow-up rabbit, a recurrent motif in Koons’s most widely recognized works, hangs from the handle.