Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s final gift to Paris wraps
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris, today is your last chance to catch L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped.
The fleeting artwork, which has seen the Arc de Triomphe wrapped in 25,000 square metres of recyclable polypropylene fabric and 3,000 metres of rope, concludes its 16-day transformation.
The project was the longstanding vision of the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude and, per Christo’s wishes, has been completed in partnership with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, the government institution that manages the Arc de Triomphe. It was entirely funded by the Estate of Christo V. Javacheff, through the sale of his preparatory studies, drawings, and collages of the project as well as scale models, works from the 1950s and 1960s, and original lithographs on other subjects.
Originally scheduled for spring 2020, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped was delayed out of concern for nesting kestrel falcons in the arch, and then the pandemic. After three months of construction, 400 tonnes of steel beams were erected to allow a team of climbers to completely conceal the 160-foot-tall war monument over the course of a few days.
The project’s ambition dates back even further though. In 1961, three years after they met in Paris, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began creating works of art in public spaces. One of their projects was to wrap a public building. In 1962, after renting a small room near the Arc de Triomphe and developing a fascination with the monument, Christo made a photomontage of it wrapped, and later a collage. Sixty years later, the vision has now become a reality. Sadly, neither lived to see their vision come to life. (Jeanne-Claude died on November 18, 2009 and Christo passed away on May 31, 2020.)
Alongside this final farewell in Paris, the artist duo was also recently celebrated in Bonhams special Wrap It Up: The Legacy of Christo & Jeanne-Claude sale on September 30. The auction included works from all their major projects (both realised and not). Highlights included the sculpture Wrapped Bouquet of Roses from 1993 (sold for $20,312) and a lithograph of L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, which sold above its high estimate for $5,737.