It was a project that Christo had long had in mind. The late American artist had long wanted to wrap Paris's Arc de Triomphe monument, and this ambitious project will finally become reality in September. And the event will be marked by Sotheby's with a private sale in Paris. Mark your agenda!
They had been dreaming about it for decades, but covid-19 got in the way of their plans. While Christo and Jeanne-Claude, both now deceased, had been thinking about draping the Arc de Triomphe since 1961, we will only have to wait until September 18 to see their artistic project finally become reality.
At the same time, Sotheby's will organize an exhibition of 25 works executed by Christo tracing the history of this monumental work, from its genesis to its posthumous realization. Until his death last year, the Bulgarian-born American artist worked tirelessly on his last "temporary exhibition," as he referred to it.
The drawings that will go on display at Sotheby's attest to the meticulous preparation Christo and Jeanne-Claude put into designing the wrapping for the Parisian moment. More than 20,000 square meters of recyclable silver-blue polypropylene fabric will be needed to wrap the Arc de Triomphe, as well as 3,000 meters of red rope in the same material.
"Christo's original works demonstrate the imagination and technical brio of an artist who dreamed the impossible and made it unforgettably real. These works made possible the seminal projects that dominated Christo and Jeanne-Claude's later career," noted Simon Shaw, vice chairman of Sotheby's.
A lasting passion for Christo's works
Each of the works on view will be available for private sale through Sotheby's, to benefit the "Arc de Triomphe Wrapped" project and the foundation that Christo and Jeanne-Claude envisioned to preserve their legacy. Like all of the couple's artistic projects, the wrapping of the famous monument on Paris's Place de l'Étoile receives no public funding, and is entirely self-financed through the sale of the artistic duo's original works. "While the nature of these installations was always to be temporary, lasting only a matter of days, they live forever in two places: in the collective imagination and in Christo's breathtaking original works," added Simon Shaw.
The exhibition of drawings tracing the making of the "Arc de Triomphe Wrapped" will take place a few months after Sotheby's earlier auction of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's collection in Paris in February. In addition to generating more than 9.8 million dollars, this sale set a new record for the late artist with "The Umbrellas (Joint project for Japan and USA)," which was sold for 2.1 million dollars