Christo’s designs for the Arc de Triomphe packaging for sale at Sotheby’s –



Paris city officials confirmed in June that after a delay, Christo’s final project of wrapping Paris’ historic Arc de Triomphe in blue fabric will be completed in September. Today, Sotheby’s is teaming up with the artist’s estate to organize a sale that will market Christo’s preparatory sketches for the work.

Under the title “The Final Christo”, 25 sketches for the installation of The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped will be offered for private sale. The works will also be exhibited at the Paris headquarters of the house from September 17 to October 3, on the occasion of the inauguration of the shrouded monument.

The prices of the works range from $ 150,000 to $ 2.5 million. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation and will be used to finance the public project, for which the emblem of the Champs-Élysées will be covered with nearly 270,000 square feet of polypropylene fabric and nearly 10,000 red rope feet.

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Christo, who died in 2020, began designing the work in the early ’60s, although it was only recently that plans for the packaging took action.

“It’s finally going to happen, 60 years later,” said Simon Shaw, vice president of global fine arts at Sotheby’s, in an interview with ARTnews.

During his lifetime, Christo regularly sold sketches to support the realization of his public projects, which are usually expensive to produce. The 14 million euros ($ 16.9 million) needed to achieve The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped was raised thanks to the sale of studies and prints from his archives and those of his companion Jeanne-Claude.

Originally slated to be staged last April but postponed due to the pandemic, the unveiling of the highly anticipated Parisian project will likely be “the artistic event of the year, especially in a world where many of us have been deprived of ‘access to art,’ said Shaw.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are known to temporarily drape buildings, monuments and various other public sites in fabric for works known as “wraps.” Among their most famous large-scale installations is Valley curtain (1974), in which the couple hung a curtain several miles long on a mountain road in Colorado; it lasted a little over a day but is considered an important work. The two also enveloped the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin.

The last project before Christo’s death last year was a massive structure formed from oil barrels on top of London’s Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park in 2018. Jeanne-Claude died aged 74 in 2009.

In February, Sotheby’s sold works from the husband and wife duo’s personal collection, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Claes Oldenberg, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Mimmo Rotella and Marcel Duchamp. Preparatory drawings for the “Package” and “Storefront” series by artists of the 1960s were also auctioned; they recovered $ 11.2 million, more than double their estimate of $ 4 million.

Artists’ preparatory drafts made for large-scale public art projects have proven to be coveted items among collectors. A study for an international public art project, The Umbrellas, joint project for Japan and the United States (1991), sold in February for 1.7 million euros ($ 2.06 million), more than eight times its presale estimate, and set a new record auction price. Another study in the series also played well with buyers, making 1.22 million euros ($ 1.5 million), five times its estimate of € 200,000.



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