Jean-Michel Othoniel is one of the most important living contemporary artist. Originally from Saint-Etienne, France, his work explores themes of intimacy, metamorphosis, and the natural world through organic, reflective forms, generally made out of refined glass.
He is mostly known for his jewellery-like sculptures, ranging from small to monumental. Othoniel is also famous for his public space projects and has been exhibited worldwide, including at the 1992 Kassel’s documenta, and more recently at the Louvre Museum in Paris, in 2019. To coincide with this show, Dityque launched a candle titled “La Rose du Louvre”. To accompany this marvellous candle, the “Othoniel Rosa eau de toilette” is now available too. It is an absolute delight.
Since childhood, Othoniel has had a passion for roses and flowers. Their symbolic significance is of particular interest to him. When the Musée Delacroix presented an exhibition dedicated to the theme of flowers in 2012, a rose breeder who admired his work offered to name a rose after him. The breeder sent Othoniel photographs of a number of newly formed flowers, suggesting that he choose one. This led to the creation of the “Othoniel rose” which was planted in the garden of the museum. It later went on to become part of the botanical collection of the Louvre too.
Invited by Le Louvre to exhibit new works in 2019, his attention was caught by a Rubens painting depicting the marriage of Marie de Medici and Henry IV of France, in the museum’s collection. This work epitomised Othoniel’s creation for Diptyque. Indeed, while walking around the space for research purposes, the artist noticed a small rose that had fallen onto the steps during the exchange of vows in the painting. To him, this rose is “the very embodiment of painting. It foreshadows today’s modern art. Blood red illuminated with white, symbolising passion and power, erudition and sensuality, this rose is the rose of mystery… This is the flower of the Louvre.”
The artist decided to create an ink and watercolour piece celebrating the flower. It was translated into a full six canvases in black ink on white gold foil. The “Rose of the Louvre”, a collection of six artworks put on display among the masterpieces of 17th and 18th century open-air Cour Puget, is now part of the Museum’s permanent collection. The installation became the expression of “an olfactory landscape” and one of these six paintings now features on Diptyque’s Othoniel Rosa bottle.
“The smell of the rose was a real discovery as its perfume is really unique and not what one expects from a common rose. Othoniel Rosa is a work of art and captures beautifully the fragrance of the flower. It is like a self-portrait, and the fragrance of Othoniel Rosa is so unique with this note of pepper and freshness.” Othoniel said.
Diptyque is known for celebrating the work of artists and this collaboration is a success.