The Art Of Living

Taittinger Collection

Thinking outside the box

In the early 1950s, whilst on his first trip to the United States to promote Taittinger champagne, Claude Taittinger met Rudy Kopf, who would later become their partner for the distribution of Taittinger champagne on the other side of the Atlantic. After getting to know each other better, Kopf asked Claude the following question: “In tomorrow’s world, there will only be space for big corporations and artists. Which side will you choose for Taittinger champagne? “. Instinctively, Claude Taittinger replied “The artists! “; thus, setting out the direction in which he would take Champagne Taittinger when he took over as President 10 years later. For three decades, he guided the brand through this journey of elegance and emotion, notably with the inaugurations of both the Taittinger Culinary Award in 1967 and the Taittinger Collection in 1983. In associating the brand with other artistic forms of expression, Taittinger recognises that the art of ‘thinking outside the box’ of tradition is just as important as the excellence and finesse of its wines.

The collection

A unique
art gallery

Having forged strong links with several artists, Claude Taittinger created the Taittinger Collection in 1983. He received support from some of the greatest names in contemporary art to showcase the best vintage Grands Crus produced by the Champagne House.

The bottle becomes both the canvas and the inspiration for a creation, signed by a distinguished artist. The Hungarian artist Vasarely was the first artist to produce work for this unique art gallery, which to date includes a long line of designs by artists such as André Masson, Roy Lichtenstein, Imaï, Rauschenberg and Amadou Sow. Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado produced artwork for the 2016 vintage Grands Crus, in the latest of these specially produced editions to date. These editions, produced in limited quantities, can be savoured using both the eyes and the pallet, or kept sealed as a memento. Due to the limited nature of these bottles, they are unfortunately no longer available directly through Taittinger.

Champagne Taittinger 1983 VICTOR VASARELY

1983 Victor

The piece of art

The artist was the first to design a bottle for the Taittinger Collection in 1983.

The image created for the bottle is a great example of Vasarely’s style. It shows his desire to achieve harmonious compositions using constructive solutions by retaining just the geometric shapes needed. The design on the bottle is a perfect example of kinetic art - a movement which originated with Vasarely and which can be seen in his Vega series (world-renowned geometric designs which create an illusion of relief).

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1978, which blends 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and 60 % Pinot Noir from the Grands Crus of the Montagne de Reims, just outside the city.

The 1978 harvest was significant as it was one of the smallest that the Champagne region had ever experienced in the post-war period. Picking had been preceded by hot and dry conditions late on in the season, which resulted in a high sugar alcohol content in the black grapes and a superb quality of yield.

The artist

Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary in 1908. By the time he was seven, he was showing a particular talent for drawing.

He studied the work of Kandinsky and Le Corbusier closely and, from 1947 onwards tackled abstract art, developing his own defined style. Co-founder of the ‘Galerie Denis René’, which exhibited leading ‘abstract paintings’, he advocated the gradual and complete rejection of traditional easel painting and conventional techniques. Vasarely died on the 19th March 1997, aged 89.

Champagne Taittinger 1985 ARMAN

1985 Arman

The piece of art

Arman is famous for his ‘accumulations’ and ‘exploded objects’ (watches, clocks, horns and violins), with which he created aesthetic compositions, sculptures, designs and paintings.

The bottle created for the Taittinger Collection in 1985 showcases this style. Golden violins intertwine across a black painted background. The musicians playing them are not totally absent from the design. One can imagine them there, thanks to the Arman’s talent at suggestive placement, which turns the champagne into a most heartfelt tribute to music.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1981, made from 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and 60 % Pinot Noir from the Grands Crus of Ambonnay and Bouzy, situated in the Montagne de Reims.

The 1981 harvest was notable for being one of the smallest that the Champagne region had experienced post WWII. Nevertheless, it enjoyed a fine reputation with regards to its quality. After a sunny August and a relatively rainy September, the sugar alcohol level was high in both white and black grapes.

The artist

Born in 1928, Arman is considered to have been one of the most talented contemporary visual artists in France.

Arman tried to capture reality by using accumulation as the fundamental method for his visual art. This technique demonstrated his desire to showcase new perceptual approaches to the notion of reality against the weakening mainstream of non-objective abstraction, a style popular the 1950s. Whether he multiplied or destroyed the object he was concentrating on, Arman always brought the elements together again, both for his deconstructed and his accumulated pieces. He died in New York on 22 October 2005.

Champagne Taittinger 1987 ANDRÉ MASSON

1987 André

The piece of art

For his bottle design, Masson created a moving tribute to champagne and to the region where he had in fact fought in the past.

The touch of gold in the middle of the bottle represents the sun streaming rays of sunshine over the magnificent Champagne countryside. Its light brings life, vineyards and red or white wine (depending on the colour of the grapes) to the region. This is symbolised by two figures who sensually reach out towards it; a firework-like explosion of a shell in the night or the moment of grace when the soul lets go of reality. André Masson died in Paris in October 1987, only a few months after making his contribution to the Taittinger Collection.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1982, made from 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and 60 % Pinot Noir of an outstanding quality.

Both the quality and quantity of the 1982 harvest has long been considered heaven-sent and legendary. After four years of low yields, the vines finally unleashed their potential thanks to the fantastic sunny spells of July and August.

The artist

André Masson was born in l’Oise in 1896. He was a painter, printmaker, illustrator and stage designer.

Throughout the 1920s, he was part of the surrealist movement, and this played a central role in his work which also reflects how attitudes have evolved throughout the 20th century. As a consequence, it was natural for him to become interested in cubism and abstraction. A seeker for a world of freedom and independence, Masson was a visionary of rare clear-sightedness. He continuously travelled the world in search of impassioned and definitive images. However, wisdom taught him that ‘there is no finished world’; Masson’s world of form was in perpetual movement. His works are arresting images, of which the overwhelming beauty both fascinate and frighten at the same time.

Champagne Taittinger 1988 VIEIRA DA SILVA

1988 Vieira
Da Silva

The piece of art

For her design for the Taittinger Collection, she had fun placing the precious bottle for a split second behind one of those remarkable stained glass windows which she alone could imagine.

The spots of colour which landed on it remain fixed there for ever! However, they don’t just stay there in a static manner, they in fact rise in a stream of bubbles, thanks to da Silva’s conviction in her artwork.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1983, made from 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and from 60 % Pinot Noir from the Grands Crus of the Montagne de Reims.

After having celebrated the ‘year of the century’ in 1982, who could have anticipated that it would happen again as early as the year after? The vines enjoyed exceptional weather throughout the season, which resulted in a huge harvest of superb quality.

The artist

Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon in 1908 and died in Paris in 1992. She divided her life between the cultural centres of both Portugal and France.

She set up home very early on in Paris with her husband, the Hungarian painter Szenes, and she successfully enrolled in the famous Paris (ART?) school. She was captivated by a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and used it as inspiration for her understanding of space as shown in the design of the stage and the depiction of the relationship between reality and make-believe. Vieira da Silva created happy paintings. The rhythm of the lines and colours have an intense musicality and mysterious feel. Imagination is not so much a construction of the mind, but a way of creating it. This paradoxical association runs through all of Vieira da Silva’s work, caught between effusion and restraint, meticulousness and chaos, and darkness and light.

Champagne Taittinger 1990 ROY LICHTENSTEIN

1990 Roy

The piece of art

In his design for the Taittinger Collection, Lichentstein remained faithful to his world inspired by comic book art and transferred it into the world of paintings.

He sought to create a visual shock by using dots and the careful choice of a few dominant colours - Van Gogh yellow, Royal blue and British Racing green. However, he wanted to take things further. By elongating the image to the point of confusion, the facial hair, which appears below his signature and extends right up to the vine shoot, reminds us that champagne is the result of the interwoven effort of nature and human ingenuity.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1985, made from a combination of 60 % Pinot Noir and 40 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region.

The 1985 harvest was not large, but the quality was superb. Terrible frosts in January and February had caused irreparable damage in several vineyards. Luckily, the situation improved at the start of the summer. The vines flowered early and superb weather throughout September and October caused the grapes to swell and give bulk to the bunches.

The artist

Roy Lichtenstein was born on the 27th October 1923 in Manhattan.

After painting in the style of abstract expressionism up until 1960, Lichtenstein became one of the leading artists of the American Pop Art movement. This was a very graphic style, which drew inspiration from comics and everyday media images. Surfaces were often created using ‘Ben Day dots’. These dots were stencilled to imitate the pixelated effect of printed images. His work reflected ‘popular culture’, showing the way it functioned and its significant moments, including war and social conflict. He focussed on images showing the ‘excessive’ side of life, such as the materialistic commercials of this epoch. He died in Manhattan on 29th September 1997.

Champagne Taittinger 1992 HANS HARTUNG

1992 Hans

The piece of art

Hans Hartung’s design for the bottle, created 3 years before he death in Antibes at the end of 1989, reflects the gestures, movements and shapes which best evoke what is to come.

His arabesque-like marks in black and yellow on a light metallic background convey to us that life can be found in provocation. Hand Hartung has used the lines of the bottle itself to perfection with his soaring, ascending lines, highlighted with colour. These lines provoke thoughts of fizz; the moving force of campagne just waiting to burst out.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1986, made from a combination of 40 % Chardonnay and 60 % Pinot Noir from the Grands Crus of vineyards in Champagne.

After the terrible frosts of 1985, vineyards in Champagne demonstrated an amazing ability to regenerate in 1986. The vines flowered in the space of one week and developed into superb bunches with an impressive number of grapes. The wine produced was very balanced with ideal acidity, creating the sophistication, freshness and elegance of this vintage.

The artist

Hans Hartung, born in Leipzig in 1904, developed a very unique approach to non-figurative art which disregarded Abstract Art completely.

He became the master of Lyrical Abstraction. He wished to remain independent of any school, rejecting an offer to study at the Bauhaus in his youth so that he could instead train classically by studying paintings and techniques at the Academy of Fine Art in Leipzig, Dresden and Munich. Hartung’s energy expresses itself through marks made by scraping, large billows, tornadoes, scratches and quivering sprays. The energy is given a shape that reveals itself visually and displays all its power.

Champagne Taittinger 1994 Imaï

1994 Imaï

The piece of art

For his contribution to the Taittinger Collection in 1994, the painter focused on the fact that champagne owes all of its special characteristics to the bounty of nature.

He chose the theme of flowers and leaves to reflect this - subjects which are much loved by Japanese painters. The chrysanthemum, a symbol used by the Japanese Imperial family, is the perfect flower for expressing the wine that accompanied the coronation of our Emperors. Each shimmering colour used plays its own magical role. The blood-orange suggests the rising sun. The cobalt blue represents the sacred rock, a place of prayer to the spirits in Shintoism, and the metallic blue provides a reflection of the sun on the mountain tops when dawn becomes day.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1988, made from a combination of 40 % Chardonnay of the Grands Crus in the Côte des Blancs region, and 60 % Pinot Noir.

The harvest in 1988 took place at the end of September in the context of very good weather conditions. Sunshine in the late season and the relatively cool nights before the harvest started allowed the grapes to attain an excellent balance of sugar content and acidity. The 1988 wines are clear, with an excellent taste and aromatic potential, and a sophistication that improves with age.

The artist

Toshimitsu Imaï was born in 1928 in Kyoto. He left for Europe in the spring of 1952 and in March 1955, he switched from figurative art to abstract painting and played a part in the ‘Art Informel’ movement.

In 1962, his native Japan officially recognised the importance of his work. His painting ‘Plein Soleil’ won an award at the 5th Exhibition of Japanese Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo bought some of his paintings. He died in 2002.

Champagne Taittinger 1996 CORNEILLE

1996 Corneille

The piece of art

For the Taittinger Collection, Corneille expresses his art using the two core values which were constant in his work from 1946 onwards: line and colour.

Figures are formed using gestures made in colour on a solid, or modulated, coloured background. Strangely-shaped birds, reminiscent of those found on bas-reliefs in Coptic monasteries or on the totem poles of Indian tribes, are depicted on a background which is painted in a green, similar to the vine leaves themselves. The birds are ready to take flight and break free from cages and barriers as universal messengers of joy - much like the wine contained within the bottle.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1990, made from 50 % Chardonnay and 50 % Pinot Noir, the majority of which came from the Taittinger vineyards.

After a blistering summer, the harvest in 1990 took place quite early on. The weather conditions allowed the grapes to mature superbly well in the Champagne region. They had an exceptional level of sugar, and the acidity level also remained acceptable. The wine is strong, full-bodied and richly aromatic, whilst also remaining fresh on the palate. This combination results in a vintage, which is full of character and keeps for a long time.

The artist

Cornelis Van Beverloo, known as Corneille, was born in Liège in 1922.

He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist, and was a follower of Dutch culture and the nation’s rich artistic past. Corneille painted birds, synonymous for freedom and spirit, as well as cats, given their hypocrisy no doubt reminded Corneille - an artist who loved all the pleasures in life - of his favourite adversary - women. In 1948, he took part in the highly influential CoBrA artist collective in Paris. This was an instinctive movement which favoured openness to the world through a willingness to commune with all forms of art. He died in Auvers-sur-Oise in 2010.

Champagne Taittinger 1998 MATTA

1998 Matta

The piece of art

As the years went by, Matta’s work, influenced for a long time by the violence and oppression that sadly marked this era, became subdued and more poetic.

These are some of the characteristics found on the design he created in his homage to Champagne. Matta leads the design with poppies, a well-known symbol of war remembrance and painted them on an ochre background. These flowers represent a need for nostalgia, yet a spirit of continuation all the same. Calligraphic marks, reminiscent of the famous ‘automatic writing’ of the surrealists, run across the design.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1992, made from a combination of Chardonnay (50 %) and Pinot Noir (50 %).

In 1992, the ripening period was affected by the weather, which was to be desired at times. However, thanks to a sunny period at the end of August and the start of September, everything fell nicely into place. The character of the 1992 wines are in line with previous great vintages. The grapes had matured well and had given the wine a full-bodied and aromatic strength. Acidity was at a good level, creating an overall balance and vibrancy. The taste is moreish and long-lasting, with the sophisticated combination of lemon and floral notes.

The artist

Roberto Sébastien Echaurren, known as Matta, was born in Chile in 1911. He came to Paris in the inter-war years to complete his architectural studies.

After graduation, he joined the influential Le Corbusier group. However, Matta turned his attention quite quickly to drawing and painting. From 1939 onwards, he lived in New York where he caught the imagination, together with his friends Masson, Max Ernst and Miro, of a whole generation of young American painters who were attracted by the Abstract Expressionism movement. Even Jackson Pollock, the founder of Action Painting, recognised the influence that Matta had had on him and others within the group of exiled Parisian artists. He died in Italy in 2002.

Champagne Taittinger 2003 ZAO WOU-KI

2003 Zao

The piece of art

For his collaboration with Taittinger Champagne, Zao Wou-Ki takes us into a world which characterises his style of abstraction.

‘I paint what isn’t seen’ he said. ‘My paintings become unreadable. Still life and flowers no longer exist. I am attracted by marks which are imaginary, indecipherable’. Indecipherable maybe, but not unfathomable to those who allow themselves to be led into his mysterious abysses, sea beds, phantasmagorical grottos and skies, which are both calm and stormy, where the viewer is drawn into a feeling of complete physical freedom and weightlessness.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 1998, made from Chardonnay (50 %) and Pinot Noir (50 %), taken from the best vintages.

The harvest in 1998 started in mid-September in the rain. After alternating hot and cold periods, the sun promptly made an appearance and rescued an abundant crop which had wonderfully ripened. The balance between the sugar alcohol and the acid is unprecedented and ranks it among the best harvests in the House’s history. The 1998 wines are blessed with an impressive intensity and harmonious aromas. These qualities, together with an ever-present freshness mean that this vintage keeps very well.

The artist

Zao Wou-Ki was born in Beijing and came from a family which descended from the very ancient Song dynasty.

After having studied at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, he came to France in 1948. Here, he discovered the great Western painters and began creating an impressive synthesis of traditional Chinese art and European art - a melange of his Orient heritage and the West. During the 1950s, he became friends with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Vieira da Silva, Hartung and Soulages. He died in Switzerland in 2013.
Zao Wou-Ki, who became a French national in 1964, is perhaps the most moving of the great abstract painters of the 20th century.

Champagne Taittingert 2007 RAUSCHENBERG

2007 Rauschenberg

The piece of art

Champagne makes us feel ethereal and Rauschenberg’s work does much the same.

He loved the Baroque, weightless astronauts and the Venuses by Rubens, rockets, parachutes, eagles, transparencies, flashes, reflections and the unknowns. His creation for the Taittinger Collection depicts a centrally-placed cockerel - the bird which announces the dawn - on top of its church tower. It is a design which shares in the celebratory spirit of champagne. Robert Rauschenberg died in 2008, just one year after completing this work.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 2000, made from just the first press of 50 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and 50 % Pinot Noir.

Just before the harvest was due to take place, quite a lot of the crop was still yet to ripen and the rain was lashing down. Luckily, the sunshine returned and the grapes matured quickly, and by the start of September had reached unexpectedly good levels. The Chardonnays are floral with a full, complex structure. The Pinots Noirs are full-bodied and full of flavour, with a red fruit aroma.

The artist

In 1964, the 32nd Venice Biennale was the scene of a great furore. Robert Rauschenberg, a 39-year old American artist, was awarded the Grand Prize.

The contemporary art world knew that he, together with Jasper Johns, was the link which connected the abstract expressionism of Pollock and Kooning to the Pop Art of Warhol and Lichtenstein. His art, like some surrealists, was made from discarded items, the old-fashioned and the worn out. His strength lay in the fact that every piece which he collected and assembled was imbued with life to such a degree that he created space (a collage) or time (an assembly).

Champagne Taittinger 2011 Amadou Sow

2011 Amadou

The piece of art

Describing the universe is at the heart of what this artist was trying to do. Strongly influenced by Dutch painting, he sought to describe Man's place in the immense cosmos.

This cosmos, for the Taittinger Collection, is African. His native continent looks back at us and surrounds us with its salt-of-the-earth rivers, raw life, love and death. The world in its purest, earthy form - huge, strange, profound, violent at times and soft like a baby carried on its mother’s back. In the African night, emotions and movement dissipate in a stream of bubbles towards a star-filled sky. All of this is remarkably reminiscent of champagne.

The vintage

The bottle contains a Brut Millésimé 2002, made from just the first press of 50 % Chardonnay from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs region, and 50 % Pinot Noir.

The year 2002 was characterised by low rainfall and a relatively mild winter. The summer saw a succession of hot, sunny days. After a huge harvest, which unfolded from mid-September to the end of the month, the first tastings revealed a wine which was rounded, smooth, open and mellow. The Chardonnays are long-lasting and rather aromatic with a dominant floral or fruity note, depending on the vintage. The Pinots Noirs are full-bodied, rich and generous, with a red berry aroma.

The artist

Born in 1951 in Saint-Louis, Senegal, Amadou Sow grew up on the island of Gorée where he learnt see the world more clearly and be inspired by his surroundings.

Sow began his artistic career in the 70s by making sculptures in stone before moving on to using rigid, transparent plexiglas, and finally to ceramics. From 1972, he lived in Vienna where he studied at the prestigious 300-year old Academy of Fine Arts, where he was known simply as ‘The African’. He chose to glorify his ‘blackness’ through his work, in order to fulfil a better choice for his ‘path’ in life, whilst being far from his place of birth. He died in Dakar in 2015.



Honest and true

Taittinger selects only the very best vintages to be decorated by an artist for the Taittinger Collection, which contains 13 editions to date. Taittinger chose photographer Sebastião Salgado to embellish its Brut Millésimé 2008. The first for a photographic artist. This Franco-Brazilian artist had already created powerful work of stunningly beautiful images of man, animals and the planet. His latest work, published in 2013, was entitled ‘Genesis’ and the image chosen by Salgado for the Taittinger Collection was taken from this. The black and white photograph shows a leopard drinking from the Barab River Valley, Damaraland, Namibia - a depiction of all that is honest and true.

2016 Sebastião


There are 13 uniquely designed editions in the Taittinger Collection. They are as prestigious as they are rare, given Taittinger chooses to showcase only some of its best great vintages to be decorated with creations by famous artists. Explore this gallery, a gallery like no other…


‘Sebastião Salgado is like a great tree. We see the state of the planet very plainly in his work, and in himself. His photos express in a very positive manner the tragedy and crisis of men and animals living in the hope of running water in the world’s valleys (...) and the necessity of what is important in comparison with the superficial. ‘: this is how the Brazilian artist was presented by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger at the release of the 13th edition to the Taittinger Collection.

In the naming of the major works by Salgado, ‘La main de l’homme’, ‘Exodes’ and ‘Genesis’, Mr Taittinger summed up the function and the symbolic, connecting them with the champagne, ‘to imagine the call of the earth, and to believe in and take part in creating something better, such as this bottle of wine which today has been honoured by such a strong soul’.

Born in Brazil in 1944, Sebastião Salgado studied economics and, when still a student, married Lélia, who was studying architecture at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. She was the person who bought him a camera, which he was to go on and use many times on trips to Africa whilst working for the International Coffee Organisation in London. Photography became his passion and  he stopped working as an economist and, together with his wife, launched into a career in photography. From 1973 onwards, they explored Africa and Latin America together, before returning to Brazil in 1979. Sebastião Salgado’s prolific body of work illustrates his commitment to and interest in the planet and those who live there - both of men and animals. In ‘La main de l’homme’, published in1993, the artist concentrates on the world of workers and paid homage to those whose lives are filled with effort and labour.

In ‘Exodes’, published in 2000, he acknowledges the courage of men confronted by dramatic, if not unbearable, situations.

His final work, ‘Genesis’, published in 2013, is a kind of ‘love letter to the planet’, as he himself put it. It shows the rich diversity of the world, with people living according to their age-old traditions, wild animals and landscapes untouched by the presence of humans. The magnificently lit black and white images were taken over the course of 32 trips. Salgado chose an image for the Taittinger Collection, which was taken from this compendium. It shows a leopard in the Barab River Valley, Damaraland, Namibia. It depicts something which is universal and fundamental -  an animal drinking from a river: life at its most simple and peaceful and a source of happiness.

The bottle contains a blend of first presses comprising Grands Crus and Premiers Crus. Of this, 50 % Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs region and 50 % Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and from the mouth of the Marne Valley makes up the blend. After a mild, rainy winter and a poor spring, the 2008 harvest took place in beautiful fresh, dry weather conditions. The crop was good and healthy. The Chardonnays are vibrant and fine, with a beautiful minerality. The Pinots Noirs are fruity and heady, with a vibrant finish. The sustained acidity, which is fully incorporated into the wine, promises an excellent keeping quality.