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Christo in his studio with a preparatory drawing for "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped”. New York City, 20 September 2019, Source: Wolfgang Volz / 2020 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe wrapped as a tribute to late artist Christo

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe wrapped as a tribute to late artist Christo

The artistic installation will be open to the public on 18 September – 3 October

In September, the Arc de Triomphe of Paris will have a new look. The symbolical monument will be wrapped in recyclable fabric, as part of an artistic project in memory of the late Christo Javacheff, a contemporary artist of Bulgarian descent, who lived in the French capital and met his partner Jeanne-Claude there.

Christo, as he is referred to in short, worked for six decades on the project, but did not live to see it accomplished as he passed away in May 2020 in New York City. Nevertheless, he had previously expressed his will that the project would be realized even after his death.

The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped: art living beyond the artist

For admirers of Christo’s works worldwide, a great surprise is in the works in Paris. In just a couple of weeks, his Foundation will achieve one of his dream projects, called “The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped”. The monument will be wrapped in 25,000 square metres of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue with 3,000 meters of red rope.

The project will be visible to the public between 18 September and 3 October without limiting the space beneath and in front of the Arch, nor the access to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame. As we have previously reported, the display of the wrapped monument was initially supposed to take place in April of 2020,  but was then postponed.

The project is 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 and works from the 1950s and 1960s, and original lithographs of other subjects. The art project is supported by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN), the institution that manages the Arc de Triomphe, in coordination with the City of Paris and the Centre Pompidou, without receiving public funds from these institutions.

Conceived back in 1961, in collaboration with his work and life partner Jeanne-Claude, the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe is seen as an example of probably the most prolific and formative stages of the two artists (between 1958 and 1964) when they both lived and worked in Paris.

The use of fabric is a leitmotif in the work of the couple, while “wrapping” is also an approach they are widely known for. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have also wrapped The Kunsthalle, Berne, in 1968, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 1969 and the Reichstag, Berlin in 1995.

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