A Masterpiece Hennessy X.O Decanter by Frank Gehry to highlight Sotheby's dedicated spirits auction

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A Masterpiece Hennessy X.O Decanter by Frank Gehry to highlight Sotheby's dedicated spirits auction
A Masterpiece Hennessy X.O Decanter by Frank Gehry. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- A Hennessy X.O. 150th Anniversary Masterpiece Decanter designed by Frank Gehry and exclusively offered with the original design moulds will join a stellar line-up as part of Sotheby's dedicated Spirits auction on 13 March in New York (estimate $15,000/30,000). Bottle #1 in the limited edition of 150 decanters produced for the Hennessy X.O x Frank Gehry collection, the Masterpiece Decanter is on offer from the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC), with proceeds to benefit the organization as part of Hennessy's Unfinished Business initiative. Launched last May, the initiative is committed to help small businesses power through the immediate financial challenges of COVID-19 and help ensure they have the resources needed to get back on their feet.

For the special 150th anniversary celebration marking the brand’s inaugural X.O Cognac in 1870, Hennessy collaborated with architect extraordinaire Frank Gehry to elevate the aesthetics of the decanter that defines the X.O epoch. Gehry’s gold and glass glorifier mixes contrasting themes of movement and freedom of form to clothe this bottle – one of only 150 decanters produced – in a second skin. The celebrated architect and designer created bespoke moulds to bring his designs to life by shaping 24-carat gold over bronze, and glass set into crumpled metal. The contours Gehry creates around the X.O Decanter evoke the River Charente – which once carried precious cognac barrels to maritime trading routes – and illuminate the deep colour of the Cognac within. To house the Masterpiece Decanter, he called on the cardboard design skills showcased in his Easy Edges furniture line to create a protective case. Sotheby’s will offer Gehry’s original mould together with the decanter itself, giving collectors the unique opportunity to acquire not only this rare Cognac, but also the tools with which it was made.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, said: “It is a pleasure to offer this lot from the world’s biggest Cognac producer for charity. This bottle blends 150 years of Hennessy’s history and expertise with the creativity of Frank Gehry’s designs. The fact that this exclusive offer includes not just the commemorative decanter but also the mould used by Gehry to create his vision makes this a piece of design history. We are pleased that proceeds from the sale will go to benefit the Asian American Business Development Centre, which Hennessy is working with as part of their Unfinished Business initiative.”

The iconic brand has enlisted three national organizations already working to support businesses in their respective communities. Unfinished Business will provide funds to One Hundred Black Men, the Asian American Business Development Center, and the Hispanic Federation to ensure support is distributed directly at the community-level among those who need it the most.

Celebrated as the brand’s most recognized expression, which came to life in 1870 at the request of Maurice Hennessy, the inaugural X.O was created by master blender Emile Filioux, who endeavoured to blend an intense eaux de vie from the cellar’s mature casks. The resulting Cognac was known as Hennessy “Extra Old”. Over the many decades that followed, Hennessy X.O has remained an exemplary Cognac brand, renowned for its quality and creativity. Not only has it struck a chord with brandy and fine spirits drinkers, but it is also considered emblematic of style and success worldwide.

The bottle will be on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 5 March, alongside additional highlights from our March Wine and Spirits auctions, as well as a selection of cars, watches, jewellery, handbags and sneakers.

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