Artist Jeff Koons wants us to appreciate things that came before us.
That desire inspired him to create his "gazing ball paintings" -- a series of large-scale hand painted reproductions of works by the Old Masters which each featured a shiny, blue sphere in front. Now, in a new collaboration with Louis Vuitton, he executes a similar vision on handbags.
Vuitton is known for engaging the art world with high-profile collaborations with influential artists including Takaski Murakami, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and now Koons.
The collection, called Masters, features Koons' re-imagining of masterpieces by da Vinci, Rubens, Van Gogh and other great artists transposed on iconic Vuitton bags like the Speedy, the Neverfull and the Keepall. There are also some small leather goods and accessories in the collection.
The bags feature a smaller LV monogram placed side-by-side with a reconfigured monogram using Koons' initials. It is a departure for the brand which has never previously allowed its monogram to be reshaped.
"In designing the bags and having the names of the artists -- Da Vinci or Rubens -- being in the reflective type is actually in a way performing the way the gazing ball would within the gazing ball paintings," Koons said.
"I would hope that when somebody walks down the street with this that what they are doing is they are really celebrating humanity. I hope somebody who sees the bag can emotionally feel this connectivity."
Vuitton used a series of advanced techniques and craftsmanship to create quality reproductions of the artworks on canvas. Each bag includes a tag in the shape of the inflatable rabbit that has been a motif in Koons' work throughout his 40-year career.
Prices for the collection range from $730 for a silk scarf to $4,000 for the Keepall 50 or the Montaigne MM styles. The collection is available today at Louis Vuitton, Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta or online at us.louisvuitton.com .
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC