$16.5-million art project wraps Paris' iconic Arc de Triomphe in fabric
When famous artist Christo died in 2020, many people assumed his work would come to an end too. However, his team, including his nephew, has come together to finally realize his decades-long wish to wrap Paris' iconic Arc de Triomphe in fabric.
Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude built a wildly successful (and controversial) career wrapping huge objects in fabric and plastic, including Berlin's Reichstag, but the Arc de Triomph was one major work that was planned but never completed. Sadly, Christo had actually started to take steps to wrap the famous triumphal arch shortly before his death – the fabric had even begun production – and his team has ensured that it closely followed his original drawings to stay true to his vision.
The scale of the project is impressive. L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped as it is officially named, cost a total of €14 million (roughly US$16.5 million), which was raised privately by the estate of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Its creation involved over 1,000 people, who wrapped the famous landmark in 25,000 sq m (roughly 270,000 sq ft) of silvery blue polypropylene fabric sewn in Germany. It is secured into place with 3,000 m (9,850 ft) of red polypropylene rope. All of the materials will be recycled once the artwork comes to an end.
"Christo and Jeanne-Claude were audacious artists," says France's Minister of Culture. "Audacity was necessary to imagine and realize projects which they were often the only ones to believe in. For over 50 years, sometimes against all odds, they have illuminated the world with their distinctive vision. Nothing seemed impossible to these artists of the ephemera. With their monumental actions in public space, they have managed to make their way into the public's heart.
"Christo and Jeanne-Claude are no longer alive, and I wish to pay them tribute. It was in Paris, the city where they met, that their love and artistic relationship was born, and it is for Paris that they have conceived many artistic projects, from the Wall of Oil Barrels - The Iron Curtain on Rue Visconti in 1962, to L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped today."
If you'd like to see L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped in person, you'll need to get yourself to Paris between September 18 - October 3.
Source: Christo and Jeanne-Claude