From Unwrapped to Wrapped : Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were one of the most iconic couples in the art world. Throughout their long careers, the pair produced immersive art installations and landmarks that brought people and art together as one. The beautiful unification was an ethos of life for the couple and a symbol of their admirable determinacy to work outside the gallery system.

And this latter fact is probably what made Sotheby's auction so unique. "Unwrapped (Part I & II): The Hidden World of Christo and Jeanne-Claude" (17th and the 18th of February 2021) at Sotheby's Paris brought the fans an intimate look inside their lives and their friendships with some of the greatest artists of the 20th Century through their personal collections. With more than 400 pieces collected throughout Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s whole life, this auction brought you works from Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and other favourites of the couple such as Joan Miro. 

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"Sotheby's auction of their personal collection will provide a unique glimpse of their personal and professional world, and we are honoured to pay tribute to this internationally renowned duo, who hold a fundamental place in the history of contemporary art."

 - Simon Shaw, Sotheby's Vice Chairman

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were collectors of memories, and their collection was displayed in their studio spaces as we have our pictures of our family displayed at home. As that, we would like to highlight two art pieces present in this auction that are highly representative of the couple’s intimate memories of relationships with artists. First, Lucio Fontana piece “Concetto Spaziale Attesa” (part of one of the most emblematic cut series of the artist) was offered to Jeanne-Claude during a visit to Fontana’s studio in 1963. This iconic artwork is a memory of admiration for each other’s work and also very representative of their intimate friendship.

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The other art piece is by Gerrit Rietveld, “Hoge” armchair (designed in 1919). This piece was acquired through a trade between the Dutch designer, Martin Visser, and Christo. “Hoge” is not only representative of Visser’s friendship with Christo, but also it is very relevant to analyse the couple’s work. For instance, if we look at “The Floating Piers” (2014-16) and compare both, we understand how the structural lines, strong shapes and colour of “Hoge” transfers to most the architectural dimension of Christo’s works.

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More recently, The Arc de Triomphe in Paris has been under everyone's eyes. Can you guess why? Yes, finally Christo and Jean-Claude's dream to wrap-up The Arc de Triomphe came true. The artwork was firstly sketched back in 1961 and it took 60 years for this artwork to leave the paper. The artwork was entirely funded by the Estate of Christo V in partnership with Centre des Monuments Nationaux and Centre Pompidou.  Christo and Jeanne-Claude left some unfinished projects, probably due to their self-financed ideals. They viewed their public art as "works of freedom".

 

“To keep that absolute freedom we cannot be obliged to anyone”

Christo, quote taken from Forbes

If you haven't seen this monumental piece, you better rush! It will be taken down in the first weekend of October 2021. 


#yvesklein #claesoldenburg #joanmiro #contemporaryart #collectingmemories

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