Retro is in, and it doesn’t get much more retro than art history’s Old Masters. Seizing on fashion’s timeless trend, and taking art appropriation to stylish news heights, artist Jeff Koons is bringing some of the Western world’s most famous artworks to a high end retailer near year on April 28 in his latest brand collaboration with style house Louis Vuitton, titled the Masters Collection, reports Vogue.
Riffing on his latest series, the Gazing Ball paintings—reproductions of classic artworks presented with reflective gazing balls—the Masters Collection features recognizable works by Leonardo da Vinci, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian and Vincent van Gogh printed on an assortment of leather bags, scarves and keychains.
In a video interview on Louis Vuitton’s website about the collaboration, Koons described the Gazing Ball series as being about “how to have appreciation for things that came before us—for things outside the self.”
Koons himself is a well-known lover, and collector, of Old Masters works—though it’s worth nothing Van Gogh doesn’t technically fit into this category. Nevertheless, Koons joins artist Damien Hirst in taking inspiration from art history for his latest project. Hirst recently opened a show in Venice in which he appropriated the style of ancient artworks from Greece, the Mediterranean and Asia for a series of colossal sculptures.
Each bag is emblazoned with metallic letters spelling out the artist’s name, and adorned with a leather keychain made in the shape of one of Koons’ rabbit ballon animal sculptures. Discussing the bags in the video, Koons said, “There’s a reflective process about the person being interlinked with the bag…I would hope that when somebody walks down the street with this that what they are doing is they are really celebrating humanity.” Celebrating won’t cheap though; items in the collection are priced between $585 and $4,000.
If you do have the cash to burn on your own portable, monogrammed masterpiece, designs include Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Van Gogh’s iconic A Wheatfield With Cypresses. And for those who don’t shy away from statement pieces, there’s always Titian’s Mars, Venus and Cupid, which features a nude Venus making out with Mars, and Fragonard’s Girl With Dog, a depiction of a naked woman playing with a small, fluffy dog between her thighs.
A promotional video for the collection features animated versions of each painting bouncing along to Jesse Rose and Trozé’s song “Chocolate,” which is (at face value) about spending money on sweets, for whatever that’s worth.
“I believe that these bags are art,” says Koons. I like I’ll take the Fragonard, please, if only I can find a patron to help finance my newest accessories acquisition.