Contemporary Art Specialist

Fabien Fryns Fine Art
Contemporary Art Expert

Launch of the sculpture collection at Donum, Sonoma, California

art exhibition - launch of the sculpture collection at donum, sonoma, california

Wine can instill a moment of inspiration or madness. Art can do the same.
Ai Weiwei

The Donum Estate is pleased to announce the launch of its open-air contemporarysculpture collection on 22 September, 2018. Donum has long been known for its award-winning, carefully-crafted Pinot Noir created by founder, president and wine-grower Anne Moller-Racke, who established the winery in 2001. In a more recent development to complement the high quality of the wine, Donum is now installing a sculpture by world-class artists throughout its 200-acre Sonoma estate. Like the wine, the sculpture collection at Donum expresses a sense of place and the important connection between art, nature and the human hand.

Since 2015, Donum has been placing large-scale sculptures in the midst of its vineyard landscape, interspersed with 150-year-old olive trees, bee hives and an organic farm. At present, these works include Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, Keith Haring’s King and Queen, Louise Bourgois’ Crouching Spider, Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock, Yue Minjun’s Terracotta Warriors, Jaume Plensa’s Sanna, Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin, Subodh Gupta’s Soma and Danh Vo’s We the People (detail), among many other works.

The collection continues to grow. A specially commissioned life-size lead air-plane by Anselm Kiefer has recently been installed in the grounds. The Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken is creating a site-specific giant wind chime in the eucalyptus grove, due for completion in autumn 2018. Subodh Gupta’s People Tree, a striking 10-meter high stainless steel banyan tree with utensils as leaves, will be installed on a hillside in October. It arrives fresh from the artist’s retrospective in Paris earlier this year. By the end of 2018, the sculpture collection at Donum is set to number around 40 works, including major pieces by Tracey Emin, Lynda Benglis, Elmgreen and Dragset, Ghada Amer, Sopheap Pich, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Jeppe Hein, Wim Delvoye, Mark Manders, Richard Hudson and Gao Weigang.

For more information on the sculpture collection at Donum, please visit:

Louise-Bourgeois Launch of the sculpture collection at Donum, Sonoma, California

Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, 2003


The sculpture collection at Donum creates an open-air encounter with art unparalleled in its international scope and ambition, yet one that fits organically into the rolling Sonoma vineyards, with views to the mountains and San Francisco Bay beyond. Visitors who come to taste Donum’s exceptional wines in this intimate, natural setting can heighten their sensory experience with a walk through the extensive grounds to see the evolving collection of art – one that will continue to develop over the years. Going for-ward, Donum plans to host a program of quarterly art events involving the artists whose work is on display and to commission site-specific works.

Notable for its international mix of established and emerging contemporary artists, in particular those from East and West, the sculpture collection at Donum was conceived by Allan Warburg, the majority owner of Donum. The sculpture collection at Donum was conceived by Allan Warburg, the majority owner of Donum. He acquired the winery in December 2011, together with his close friends Michael Skovgaard Petersen and Daniel Aaxman, after first tasting its wine in 2008. A Danish businessman based in Hong Kong and China, he is a passionate collector of art and wine with a belief that both can help connect people across cultures.

“The sculpture collection is very personal, representing what my wife and I believe fits the landscape and feeling of Donum,” says Warburg. “We aim to make the collection as global as possible. I am a European who has lived over half my life in Asia, I am married to a Chinese woman who studied in Australia, and now I also produce wine in California. I love and embrace diversity and different cultures and hope the collection will express this.”

Louise-Bourgeois Launch of the sculpture collection at Donum, Sonoma, California

Keith Haring, King and Queen, 1987. Background: Richard Hudson, Love Me, 2016


The idea of installing his art collection at Donum occurred gradually, once Warburg visited the winery and fell in love with the authentic, rural feel of this former dairy farm, one hour north of San Francisco, on the edge of a nature preserve. With a glass of Donum in his hand, he conceived the idea of placing sculptures in the Sonoma vineyards. “It is important to remember that Donum is a winery with a sculpture collection – not a sculpture collection with a winery. Donum Pinot Noirs are among the highest rated in California. This means that we select the highest quality art for Donum in order to reflect the special nature of the wine and its estate.”

For Warburg, wine plus art equals more than the sum of its parts: “I believe that one plus one is not always two,” he says. “If you take art, put it into a beautiful landscape and at the same time enjoy it with a glass of great wine, the experience is more powerful than if the three are enjoyed separately.”

The sculpture walk through the Donum vineyards creates unexpected vistas and new perspectives on the art, the wine and their relationship to this landscape. For example, the new building that houses Louise Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider (the artist’s extraordinary original steel version of this iconic large-scale spider from which subsequent bronze sculptures were cast) is embedded in the vines with glass walls, so that visitors can look out through the spider’s legs to the vineyards beyond. Anselm Kiefer’s specially commissioned life-size lead airplane is placed on a ‘runway’ strip of land between two bodies of water, as though it has just landed there. Zhan Wang’s stainless steel Artificial Rock stands surrounded by natural rocks that serve as benches. Richard Hudson’s massive mirrored heart Love Me at the summit of the vineyard reflects the earth and sky that nurture the vines. The Corten steel of Keith Haring’s King and Queen and the copper of Danh Vo’s We the People (detail) are echoed in the steel vineyard posts. Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin and Lynda Benglis’s flower-like Pink Ladies emerge like exotic plants out of pools of water. The brass coated poles of Chinese artist Gao Weigang’s Maze blend with the native California grasses surrounding them.

Each work was collected and conceived individually and several are site-specific commissions. Two of the artists here have made direct responses to the wine. Ai Weiwei has redesigned the Donum wine label (below) using the different animal heads of his Zodiac of Animals sculpture to correspond with the year of each vintage. Subodh Gupta’s sculpture Soma, named for the nectar of the gods in Hindu mythology, has been specially commissioned in the shape of a Donum Pinot Noir bottle.

Louise-Bourgeois Launch of the sculpture collection at Donum, Sonoma, California

While the sculpture collection at Donum will grow over time and follows no over-arching theme, various ideas emerge from a sculpture walk through the vineyard: for example, a sense of flowing line that complements the vines; the relationship between man and nature, cultivated land and wild space; questions about the environment, beauty, perception, love and cross-cultural connection, and – above all – the global nature of the art and artists.

In the words of wine grower Anne Moller-Racke, who has nurtured Donum’s growth since its foundation: “Donum means ‘gift’ in Latin and the art we now have here is a wonderful gift. Visitors have always connected with this property, its proximity to nature and the wine that is an expression of this terroir – the art is a seamless addition. What underlies both art and wine is passion. Both of them stimulate the senses and enhance your perceptions of this special place.”


Donum Winery was founded in 2001 by Anne Moller-Racke as an “ultimate Pinot Noir project” based on the Burgundian Grand-Cru model, with the goal of producing the fin-est Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Located in a former dairy farm in the Carneros region of Sonoma, Donum also creates Pinot Noir from its vineyards in the Russian River and Anderson Valley regions of Northern California.

In September 2017, Donum inaugurated Donum Home, a new visitorscenter on the site of the former farmhouse, which includes a neon work by Tracey Emin and a painting by the Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong.

In Autumn/Winter 2018, Donum will inaugurate its first dedicated winemaking building on the property, on the site of the original dairy barn. Donum is a private estate open for wine tastings by appointment only, due to the small staff and an ethos of providing a personal experience for each visitor. The wine tastings include walks through the grounds and sculpture collection. Once construction of the new winemaking building is complete, it will be possible to book weekly art tours by appointment.

Louise-Bourgeois Launch of the sculpture collection at Donum, Sonoma, California

Donum label designed by Ai Weiwei


Press Preview: 21 September, 2018, 11am–5pm

To RSVP to press preview and for press information,
images and any questions relating to the art at Donum, please contact:

Sarah Greenberg
Evergreen Arts
Mobile: +44 (0) 7866543242

More Information at the link below