Four of the world’s finest collections of contemporary open-air art are in France, in the heart of the vineyards: La Commanderie de Peyrassol and Château La Coste, in Provence ; Château Chasse-Spleen and Château Smith Haut-Lafite near Bordeaux.
At the Commandery of Peyrassol, the entrance has been made by Daniel Buren. The multicolored cylinder is a “majestic door, a passage that leads to art and wine, a generous entrance thanks to its colors playing with the sun”. The work of Daniel Buren joins the sixty or so sculptures that now dot this vineyard of 1000 ha.
Spread in the vineyards or in the forest, they are signed François-Xavier Lalanne, Bernar Venet, Arman, Alain Clement, Jean Tinguely, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Vladimir Skoda, Keiji Uematsu, Patrick Fleury, Federica Matta or Jaume Plensa. Other works by Niki De Saint Phalle, Franck Stella, Anthony Gormley and François Morellet can be seen in the magnificent art gallery designed by architect Charles Berthier. A few kilometers away, Château La Coste is not far behind. On its 130 hectares of vines, thirty works of art and buildings signed Frank Gehry (bandstand), Jean-Michel Wilmotte (exhibition center), Renzo Piano (arts pavilion) or Tadeo Ando (art center). In the forest, a walk in the shade of trees leads to the works of Liam Gillick, Kengo Kuma, Paul Matisse, Tastuo Miyajima, Larry Neufeld, Jean-Michel Othoniel, John Rocha, Sean Scully, Richard Serra, Tom Shannon, Michael Stipe, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Lee Tunga, Lee Ufan, Ai Weiwei and Franz West. And this is just the beginning of the collection.
It is in Gironde that the phenomenon began. Daniel and Florence Cathiard made their property, Château Smith Haut-Lafitte, the first place dedicated to art. In addition to the art trail in the middle of the vineyards with thirty or so monumental sculptures by Barry Flanagan, Jean-François Briant, César, Jean Dupuy and Zhan Wang, the Cathiard couple imagined the Forêt des Sens, a sort of magical forest inhabited by animals , works of art, a stealthy cellar and a garden of scents. The latest addition to these art collections is Chateau Chasse-Spleen, which recently opened its domain to visitors. On the property are works by Anita Molinero, Lilian Bourgeat, Joao Maria Gusmao and Pierre Labat. Do not miss the surprising trompe-l’oeil that runs along the walls and ceiling of the winery made by artist Felice Varini. Château Palmer did more sober with the opening of a photo gallery.