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The Arc de Triomphe by Christo and Jeanne-Claude

A l'occasion de la présentation de l'Arc de Triomphe empaqueté, célébrons l'art de Christo et Jeanne-Claude [Read more]

The Arc de Triomphe packaged, masterpiece and final work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is visible since last week in Paris. The posthumous project (Jeanne-Claude died in 2009, Christo in 2020) was piloted by their nephew according to their plans and drawings. This week, let's celebrate the art of this couple of artists with a selection of signed editions including a lithograph published in 1972 representing the famous photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe.

The project

From the early 1960s, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were thinking about packing the Arc de Triomphe. In 1962, they produced a photomontage representing the packed monument. The idea came to them while looking at him from the window of their first Parisian apartment. The photomontage was then edited in lithography. Our copy is signed by Christo and justified EA (artist proof). The print is referenced in the catalog raisonné of the artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude Prints and Objects . Due to the ephemeral nature of their works, the lithographs and drawings produced in parallel made it possible to document the work of the artist couple.

Javacheff CHRISTO
The wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe , 1972
Lithograph on Arches Vellum 250g paper (Acid free), Prisunic suite
Signed and numbered EA in pencil

At a cost of 14 million euros, the packaging of the Arc de Triomphe was entirely financed through the sale of original works: preparatory drawings, models and lithographs. The ephemeral work was produced by a team of 1,000 people, with 25,000 square meters of recyclable silver-blue polypropylene fabric and 3,000 meters of red rope. The realization of this extraordinary project is visible until October 3.

In 2019, Christo explained that the packaging of the Arc de Triomphe “ will be like a living object that will come alive in the wind and reflect the light. The folds will move, the surface of the monument will become sensual ”. The nesting of the kestrels in the Arc and then the pandemic postponed the installation by eighteen months and prevented the artist from seeing it.

The market for works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude

The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped is in great demand at the moment by collectors: editions, models, drawings representing the monument wrapped up are becoming increasingly popular. In February, 2021, Sotheby's Paris 'Unwrapped' sale of 373 lots from the couple's collection reached 9.2 million euros ($ 11.1 million), more than double its high estimate.

In particular, drawings set new records for Christo. Illustrating the project The Umbrellas, Joint Project for Japan and USA (1991), the preparatory drawings exceeded their estimates to sell for 1.7 million euros and 1.2 million euros thus surpassing the previous auction record for Christo.

Javacheff CHRISTO - The Umbrellas, Joint Project for Japan and USA (1991) - Credit: Sotheb'ys

Jeanne Claude and Christo

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, both born on June 13, 1935, rebel against abstraction which they consider too theoretical. Quickly, they decide that they would transform the objects by wrapping them. The couple bundle up tin cans, bottles, stacks of magazines, and furniture, among other things, and then continue to explore this process by wrapping people and monuments. They married in 1962 and moved to New York two years later, where they remained until their death.

Wrapped portrait of his wife Jeanne-Claude (© Christo 1963 Photo © Christian Baur, Basel)

In 1975, Christo and Jeanne-Claude developed the idea of packaging the Pont-Neuf in Paris with polyamide canvas in a golden sandstone color, which would cover the sides and the vaults of the twelve arches of the bridge, the parapets, the borders and sidewalks (the public must be able to walk on the canvas).

Pont Neuf packed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude - September 1985

It was in 1995 that they really revealed themselves to the general public with the packaging of the Reichstag in Berlin. In less than two weeks, the work is seen by more than 5 million people.

Reichstag packaged Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Berlin, June / July 1995

Their creations are part of the collections of museums around the world, including the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Voir plus d'œuvres de Christo et Jeanne-Claude