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The Final Christo is an exhibition of 24 original artworks that tell the story of the late artist's final work
Words by Aneesha Rai in The Lifestyle · Sep 20th, 2021
Spanning over six decades, Christo's making of the L'Arc de Triomphe wrapped has been documented through an exhibition at Sotheby's Paris by 24 original artworks. These works provide a window onto Christo’s extraordinary vision, which continues to capture the world’s imagination.
In 1961, three years after they met in Paris, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began creating temporary works of art in public spaces. In 1961, Christo imagined wrapping the Arc de Triomphe. In 1962-1963, he created a photomontage with L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, seen from Foch Avenue, and again featured the Arc de Triomphe wrapped in a collage in 1988. He began actively developing this project in 2017, and now 60 years later, it will finally be realized. “It will be like a living object which will move in the wind and reflect the light. With its moving folds, the monument’s surface will become sensual. People will want to touch the Arc de Triomphe,” Christo said. The project was submitted to the Centre des monuments nationaux by the Centre Pompidou, which organized the exhibition “Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Paris!” in 2020, and is supported by the City of Paris. The Centre des monuments nationaux, which ensures the conservation and opening of the Arc de Triomphe on behalf of the national state, is pleased about the realization of a project that demonstrates its commitment to contemporary art creation and honors one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris and in France.
Christo (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff), was born in 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria and died in May 2020 in New York City, USA and Jeanne-Claude (Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat de Guil- lebon) was born in 1935 in Casablanca, Morocco and died in November 2009 in New York City, USA. The artists are internationally known for their monumental temporary artworks. After studying at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Christo fled communist Bulgaria in 1957 and settled in Paris in March 1958, attracted by the city’s aura and its dynamic art scene. Just a few months after his arrival, he met Jeanne-Claude, the adopted daughter of French General Jacques de Guillebon. They began their artistic collaboration in 1961 and settled in New York in 1964. The seven-year period spent in Paris (1958-1964) was essential for Christo. This intense period of creation appears today as fundamental in his artistic gesture. In 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began to conceive interventions at the city’s scale, from the Wall of Oil Barrels - The Iron Curtain, Rue Visconti realized in 1962 to The Pont Neuf Wrapped, which took ten years to realize from 1975 to 1985.
Timed to coincide with the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe this Autumn - one of his last “temporary exhibitions” as Christo liked to call them - the show will run from September 17 to October 3 in Sotheby’s Paris galleries. The original artworks will be available to purchase via private sale with proceeds benefiting both the L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped project, and the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.