Home Industry News Releases Charity Auction for Rare Bottles of Vendemmia d’Artista Ornellaia 2020 “La Proporzione”...

Charity Auction for Rare Bottles of Vendemmia d’Artista Ornellaia 2020 “La Proporzione” to Begin September 7, 2023


The online auction organized by Sotheby’s will be held from September 7 to 21, 2023. The proceeds will support the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, Venice and Bilbao

New York, NY, September 5, 2023 – Bolgheri wine estate Ornellaia is excited to announce that the annual charity auction of bottles from the 15th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista, organized by Sotheby’s, will return online from September 7 to 21, 2023.

Double magnums, imperials and the only 9-liter Salmanazar will be among the 12 lots. All the bottles are embellished with labels designed by the American artist Joseph Kosuth, who was invited to interpret this edition’s character, namely “La Proporzione” (Proportion).

The auction will provide collectors with the opportunity to secure lots of high artistic and wine significance, while doing a generous gesture. As in previous years since 2019, all profits will go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” program, which welcomes and enhances access to the arts for visitors who are blind or have low vision. “We are proud to support this initiative,” comments Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Ornellaia. “Like in art, appreciation of fine wines requires total involvement of the senses. Furthermore, for us, partnering with the Guggenheim Foundation is a way of giving back to the community some of the extraordinary goodwill that nature has bestowed upon us.” These unique bottles are precious for three reasons: their contents, their works of art on the labels and, last but not least, their goal of increasing access to the arts for all visitors.

In 2020, nature and humanity combined to craft a perfect ‘proportion’ of elegance, power and complexity. In order to interpret this correspondence, the leading American conceptual artist and theorist Joseph Kosuth created a set of works based on the word “wine” and a quote from Vitruvius’s De Architectura (3.1.3). The 750ml bottle features the English version of the phrase engraved on the paper. For the 100 double magnums, the etymology of the word “wine” is embossed on the bottle, while each of the unique 10 imperials sees the etymology engraved onto the glass. One branch is accentuated in white and the quote from Vitruvius is translated in the highlighted language or one of its modern descendants: Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Latin, Italian, Hindi, Hebrew, Modern Greek, Irish, German and Armenian. For the Salmanazar, the etymology and quote from Vitruvius below are in English, and the highlighting applied to the bottle is in platinum.

Kosuth notes, “I believe that language is an important part of experiencing everything and that these experiences shape us in a certain way linguistically. The architecture of experience through language was obviously always at work and I believe that Vitruvius was a major resource in understanding a concept like proportion. Proportion is not only visible equilibrium among the elements, but also equilibrium of all the elements that make it a perfect entity of what it represents for the world, thus also shaping it as conception.”

About Ornellaia

The name ORNELLAIA conjures up the authentic expression of Tuscan beauty and Mediterranean elegance. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coast, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and its iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Rosso, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. The team’s dedication, together with optimal geological and microclimate conditions, has resulted in international critical acclaim and public success.

About Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista

The Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrates the character of each new vintage of Ornellaia. Every year, starting with the release of Ornellaia 2006, a contemporary artist crafts a site-specific artwork and a set of limited-edition labels, inspired by a word chosen by the technical team to describe the vintage. A label styled by the artist features on one of the six 750ml bottles in every case of Ornellaia. The project also includes a limited edition of 111 large-format bottles (100 jéroboams – 3 litres, 10 imperials – 6 litres and 1 salmanazar – 9 litres), which are numbered and signed by the artist. Every year, a selection of these bottles is auctioned by Sotheby’s and the profits go to support the Mind’s Eye program from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

The Vitruvius quote taken from De Architectura (3.1.3) that is engraved, in different languages, on the various formats of Vendemmia d’Artista Ornellaia 2020 bottles reads as:

“Proportion consists in taking a fixed module, in each case, both for the parts of a building and for the whole, by which the method of symmetry is put into practice” (Vitruvius, Granger, 1931)

The Mind’s Eye Program

The Mind’s Eye program, which was created and developed by the Guggenheim’s Education Department, offers a sensory-focused approach to experiencing art for visitors who are blind or have low-vision. With the support of all departments across the Museum, Mind’s Eye programming includes vivid verbal descriptions of artworks, sensory objects, artmaking, participatory activities, and lively conversation. The program fosters creative impressions, emotional connections and memories, whose perception lasts over time. Like in art, the appreciation of fine wines requires engagement of all the senses. Sharing this idea inspired Ornellaia to support the development of this program. Donations collected through “Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista” allow the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to further develop Mind’s Eye program activities, aiming to roll out the model to other art galleries, ensuring that its excellence continues to direct museum programming throughout the world for communities of people who are blind or have low vision. By means of digitalisation, the Mind’s Eye program has succeeded in reaching an ever wider international public over the years, also thanks to the Mind’s Eye Sensory Guide which recreate the visual experience of art by using specific interactive language. The Guggenheim stands out for its commitment to communities who are blind or have low vision through Mind’s Eye programming. Generous donations made by Ornellaia have facilitated the program’s extension to the Guggenheim’s Constellation of Museums in Venice and Bilbao, instilling it with international significance.

About Joseph Kosuth 

Joseph Kosuth (born in Toledo, Ohio, on January 31, 1945) trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art (1963-64), the School of Visual Art in New York (1965-67) and the New School for Social Research (1971-72). He taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg (1988-90) and the Staatliche Akademie der bildenden Künste in Stuttgart (1991-99). At the Museum of Visual Art, a gallery that he founded in New York in 1967, Kosuth presented his first conceptual artworks, for which he is regarded as a leading figure and theoretician. Kosuth’s art has been displayed at some of the most important contemporary art shows and is on show in major museums. His work has always explored the production and role of language and its meaning within art. By challenging conventions and definitions, he has focused his research into language with a complex approach in which philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalysis and art criticism all interact.

About Sotheby’s and wine

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 70 categories which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Design, as well as collectible cars and real estate. Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits achieved a record total of $158 million in 2022, a 20% increase from 2021. Sotheby’s currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most valuable bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most valuable bottle of spirits ever sold at auction, in addition to the highest ever total for a charity wine auction.



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