Christo Will Wrap the Arc de Triomphe Some 60 Years After Conceiving the Project

  • PARIS, France
  • /
  • April 03, 2019

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Christo, L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris) Place de l'Etoile – Charles de Gaulle. Drawing 2019 in two parts. Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, enamel paint, architectural and topographic survey, hand-drawn map on vellum and tape. 15 x 96" and 42 x 96" (38 x 244 cm and 106.6 x 244 cm).
Photo: André Grossmann
Christo, The Arc de Triumph (Project for Paris, Place de l'Etoile – Charles de Gaulle). Wrapped Collage 2018 in two parts. Pencil, charcoal, wax crayon, fabric, twine, enamel paint, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, hand-drawn map and tape, 12 x 30 1/2" and 26 1/4 x 30 1/2" (30.5 x 77.5 cm and 66.7 x 77.5 cm).
Photo: André Grossmann © 2018 Christo Ref. ...

Christo, in close collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and the Centre des monuments nationaux, will create a temporary artwork in Paris entitled L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l'Étoile – Charles de Gaulle). This artwork will be on view for 14 days, from Monday, April 6, to Sunday, April 19, 2020. The arch will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 meters of red rope.

Its realization will coincide with a major exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou, from March 18 to June 15, 2020, retracing Christo and Jeanne-Claude's years in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well as the story of The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Project for Paris, 1975-85. "The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou will reveal the historical context of the period during which we lived and worked in Paris," says Christo. 

Christo on the Quai de la Tournelle, Paris, 1962. Photo: Jeanne-Claude

The Centre des monuments nationaux, the government institution that manages the Arc de Triomphe, is pleased about the realization of a project that demonstrates its commitment to contemporary creation and that honors one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris and in France.

L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped will be entirely funded by Christo 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. It will receive no public or private funds.

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. At the time, Christo, who was renting a small room near the Arc de Triomphe, made several studies of a project there, including, in 1962, a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped, seen from the Avenue Foch. In the 1970s and 1980s, Christo created a few additional studies. Almost 60 years later, the project will finally be concretized. 

Throughout the entire period when the artwork is on display as well as during its preparation, the space beneath the Arc de Triomphe where the holy flagstone lies and where since 1923 the Eternal Flame has burned in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will be fully maintained. As always, associations, charity workers and volunteers committed to the values of the French Republic will take turns to ensure the continuity of souvenir and memory, and to proceed with the daily ceremony of rekindling the flame and of paying homage to the Unknown Soldier with the appropriate solemnity.

"Thirty-five years after Jeanne-Claude and I wrapped the Pont-Neuf, I am eager to work in Paris again to realize our project for the Arc de Triomphe," says Christo.

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