Thumbs Up Clos Pegase

    Le Pouce, as it is called in French, was designed by French sculptor César Baldaccini in 1963.

    "Thumb" (Le Pouce) Clos Pegase Winery
    "Thumb" (Le Pouce) Clos Pegase Winery
    "Thumb" (Le Pouce) Clos Pegase Winery

    Thumbs up! There must be a happy giant lurking beneath the artistic grounds at the Clos Pegase Winery nestled in the volcanic hills outside of Calistoga, Napa. And why not be enthusiastic when surrounded by lush vineyards, and so many inspired works of art in the sculpture garden on the 450-acre estate. In today’s photo of the day, you can see the piece that is reported to be one of the most photographed icons in all of the Napa wine country.

    Le Pouce, as it is called in French, was designed by French sculptor César Baldaccini in 1963. Made of bronze, the sculpture stands six-foot tall. Clos Pegase was founded by Japanese publishing mogul Jan Shrem. The winery became a monument to both wine and art, with 20,000 feet of aging caves, and landscaped sculpture garden featuring pieces from Shrem’s collection.

    Thumb at Clos Pegase: A popular spot to get married.
    Thumb at Clos Pegase: A popular spot to get married.

    Cesar Baldaccini also created the French equivalent of the gold Oscar statuette. Known professionally as Cesar and described as France’s Andy Warhol, he died in 1998 of cancer at the age of 77.

    His Thumb sculptures are among his most famous works, and can be found at locations around the world including Shanghai, Paris, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

    In 2007 one of Cesar’s Thumb sculptures, owned by a private collector, went for auction and sold for 1,219 million euros ($1,731,411,136). This is the highest amount paid for Cesar’s work till date and now the third ‘Pouce’ is owned by the city of Seoul.

    (Credit: top photo and article contributions, Clinton Stark)

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    • Carl

      I would bet that is 1.7 million US dollars not $1.7 billion.
      Nice story otherwise.

    • Carl

      I would bet that is 1.7 million US dollars not $1.7 billion.
      Nice story otherwise.

    • Clinton Stark

      You’re probably right. For that kind of money, you should get the whole hand.

    • Clinton Stark

      You’re probably right. For that kind of money, you should get the whole hand.

    • Al Graichen

      Jan send this article to all of his club members that follow his “tweets” and educational notes by email.

    • Al Graichen

      Jan send this article to all of his club members that follow his “tweets” and educational notes by email.

    • Loni Kao Stark

      Hi Al,

      We had a wonderful time with Jan. He was so charming and showed us around the beautiful grounds at Clos Pegase. The cave concert area is impressive.

    • Loni Kao Stark

      Hi Al,

      We had a wonderful time with Jan. He was so charming and showed us around the beautiful grounds at Clos Pegase. The cave concert area is impressive.