During the early days of the 20th century, three passionate souls — tradesman Claus-Johannes Vob, Berlin engineer August Eberstein and Hamburg banker Alfred Nehemias — would gather to exchange progressive ideas. It wasn’t long before they patented and launched their first writing instrument called the Rouge et Noir in 1909. It was a tribute to the work of the writer Stendhal; in black ebonite with a red-topped cap. Already, Montblanc and artistic endeavour had embarked on parallel journeys.
Since then Montblanc has sought to partner with artists and writers, thinkers and movers of the time, long before it joined the standing collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. In connection with the annual Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award, the company issues a limited-edition fountain pen as a tribute to the most important patrons of art and culture in the past centuries.
In 2016, Montblanc paid tribute to Peggy Guggenheim, one of the most influential US collectors and exhibitors of contemporary art, with another limited-edition pen, with black lacquer inlays in the platinum-plated cap and barrel, inspired by the Art Deco works of her collection.
Montblanc’s Hamburg headquarters also offers a unique collection of artworks. Displayed along the corridors, factory buildings and executive offices are drawings, paintings, installations and sculptures. An all-white spacecraft by Tom Sachs is ready for lift-off at the entrance. An intricate landscape of threads seems to swallow up the Montblanc logo in a piece designed by Chiharu Shiota.