The Art of Wine: The Pairing of Fine Art and Fine Wine Reflects Fine Living

Article excerpt

Wine, a timeless symbol of elegance celebration, and has experienced a surge in interest in recent years.

Considering the wide diversity of prices and types of wine, there really is something for everyone. Yet wine tends to bespeak a lifestyle of luxury and relaxation, of the enjoyment and appreciation of the creation of the vintner.

From racecar drivers like Mario Andretti to Hollywood producers such as Francis Ford Coppola, those who can, may develop their own wineries. Others, who might pay thousands, even millions to put their homes on a scenic golf course, also seek the pastoral scene created by the vines of a valley vineyard. And, within those homes, just as it is for equestrians, ballet dancers or jazz aficionados, wine collectors tend to grace their walls with the art of their obsession.

"Many people think art is merely a painting," said Jerry Lohr, president of J. Lohr Winery in California. "But art is in so many other forms. The door to our wine center is carved all in wine scenes. The hardware on the door to the home we're building in Monterey will be a cast grape duster. Wine art is moving into many other things as artists find the market for their craft."

The Fine Art of Fine Wine

If art imitates life, there must be no confusion about why the images and icons associated with fine wines have become so popular among a growing number of fine art collectors--s long as you understand the broader definition of fine art.

"Wine, like food, is an art," said artist Thomas Arvid, who paints still lifes of wine. "People who appreciate the opera, theater and literature tend to appreciate all forms of art. They might be moved by my painting because it speaks to them directly about another part of their life they also enjoy. My artwork has bridged them from music and theater and wine to art. When they see my artwork, it doesn't need to be explained to them. It is part of who they are."

Sandy Phillips, owner of the Phillips Gallery of Fine Art, which represents Arvid's work in Carmel, Calif., is one of a handful of art dealers who, the artist believes, immediately picked up on the association between wine and art.

Phillips seems to understand this connection because she understands the finer style of living. She associates with the upscale community given to collecting fine things. Some gallery directors might not necessarily know the lifestyle of the person who spends $150 to $250 or more on a bottle of wine. She does.

Phillips Gallery will be catering to that lifestyle this summer, when hosting an exhibit of Arvid's work during the internationally renowned ConCours d'Elegance Vintage Automobile Show in Pebble Beach.

"We're in California; we sell Thomas' work to wine connoisseurs, people who really appreciate the finest in wine," said Phillips. "During the Concours d'Elegance, we meet people who are into vintage and rare automobiles--and wine. It's a perfect marriage between the two. Some of our best collectors are the clients who collect both."

Arvid tends to paint wine the way we drink it today. A friend shows up at your house, you're glad he stopped by. You open a bottle of wine, leave the cork in the corkscrew, sit down, relax and share stories with one another. Arvid's art aims to record these informal aspects of how we live each day and attracts a diverse demographic of collectors who appreciate fine wine and fine art and collect both as a symbol and reminder of their lifestyle.

A more classic still life reminiscent of the Dutch masters, is the imagery of British artist Ray Campbell, whose formal arrangements of wine and grapes are collected worldwide by those who are serious about fine art as well as those who appreciate fine dining and fine wine.

The Art of Collecting

There are only so many original images in art and only so many who can afford them. Hence, quality reproductions, like a limited-edition print featuring wine, have become a pursuit and prized possession of many. …