Christo’s early training in Soviet socialist realism and his experience of fleeing his homeland as a refugee from the political revolution shaped his numerous excursions into real politics as the main subject and source of his art. His 35-year collaboration with the artist Jeanne-Claude and the large-format site-specific works they wrote together are the greatest successes of his career.
Sotheby’s Auction House set a new record for Christo in 2021. In Paris, on 17. February 2021 the sale „Unwrapped, Part I: The Hidden World of Christo and Jeanne-Claude“ took place. Among the lots have been several drawings by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Estimated at about $241,000 to $361,400, the drawing showing the yellow umbrellas that were erected on the hills of Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles proved a highly desirable image, selling to a telephone bidder for about $2.05 million, setting an auction record for the artist. The similarly valued study of blue umbrellas by the Sato River north of Tokyo reached about $1.45 million.
While they often insisted that the aesthetic qualities of their art were their primary value, the reactions of audiences and critics worldwide have long since recognized a broader commentary that extends to their work and themes ranging from environmental destruction, the troublesome history of the 20th century and the Cold War, to their adherence to democratic and humanist ideals.
Christo was an American of Bulgarian descent, with his full name Christo Vladimirov Javacheff. Born on June 13, 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, from an industrialist family. He died on May 31, 2020 in New York City.
Jeanne-Claude was also American. As Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat was born on June 13, 1935 in Casablanca, from a French military family. Trained in France and Switzerland. Died on 18 November 2009 in New York City.
Most famous projects:
Surrounded Islands, 1983, Miami, USA.
Pont Neuf, 1984, Paris, France.
The Umbrellas, 1990, Iberaki, Japan.
Wrapped Reichstag, 1994, Berlin, Germany.
The Gates, 2005, New York, USA.
Floating Piers, 2016, Lago d’Iseo, Italy.
Arc de Triomphe, 2021, Paris, France