Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s final work, the wrapping of L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, has been chronicled in a new limited-edition book from Taschen.
Title Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021it explores every aspect of the project, from its first sketches to its spectacular completion in September 2021, a year after Christo’s death.
For 16 days, the famous monument was cocooned in 25,000 square meters of recyclable silver-blue polypropylene fabric, held together by 3,000 meters of red rope. As with all the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, it was deliberately monumental and free to visit.
While memorable and beautiful to behold – especially at dusk when the setting sun lit up the shimmering fabric in dazzling gold – the idea took 60 years to come to fruition.
First conceived in 1962, when the couple were staying near the Arc de Triomphe on their first arrival in Paris, it began with sketches and a photomontage showing the fabric-wrapped monument. The couple took up the idea again in 1988, with collages.
Meeting in 1958, Jeanne-Claude and Christo enjoyed a lifelong artistic collaboration that resulted in bold, site-specific projects all over the world. They wrapped the Reichstag in Germany in 1995, while in the early 1970s they hung a curtain between two mountains in Colorado.
After Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009, Christo continued to work, creating a three kilometer long pontoon bridge connecting an island to mainland Italy in 2016. However, it was not until 1994 that Jeanne-Claude received any acknowledgment as a co-creator, with only Christo being credited.
The new book, 450 pages and limited to just 2,000 copies, was created with the couple’s studio and follows their remarkable final work from first sketches to completion – and has been seen by an estimated six million people.
With all their projects envisioned as deliberately short-lived, this expansive book lends a sense of permanence to something so fleeting in origin, and seems a fitting tribute to such a visionary couple.
Updated: November 14, 2022, 7:12 a.m.