Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009), Artist and Wife of Christo

"We want to create works of art of joy and beauty, which we will build because we believe it will be beautiful. Like every artist, every true artist, we create them for us." ~Jeanne-Claude

Jeanne-Claude, Christo, artists
NEW YORK — The orange-headed artist known simply as Jeanne-Claude died from complications of a brain aneurysm on Wednesday night; she was 74. As the wife and muse of well-known artist, Christo, the pair traveled the world creating large scale "wrapped" installations, the most famous of which was The Gates of Central Park (2005).

Jeanne-Claude was born in Casablanca, Morocco on June 13, 1935 (coincidentally also Christo's date of birth). The couple met in Paris in 1958 and eventually moved to Manhattan, where they've lived for the past 45 years.

Jeanne-Claude and Christo have spent the last 51 years collaborating on various art projects, often called environmental art. Though the "final" results are temporary, the installations require numerous preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and lithographs, the sale of which has solely provided their financial support. The "green" couple has conscientiously recycled the miles of fabric and other materials used in the creation for each of their undertakings.

Perhaps the most legendary Jeanne-Claude/Christo collaboration was The Gates, viewed by five-million people. Twenty-three miles of footpaths in Central Park were filled with 7,503 frames covered by saffron drapes; the project ultimately injected over $250 million into the local economy. The duo's other installations include The Umbrellas (1990), in which 1,760 yellow umbrellas were set up in California while 1,340 blue umbrellas were simultaneously installed in Japan, and the 1995 wrapping of the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Christo's family said he is deeply saddened by his wife's death and remains "committed to honor the promise they made to each other many years ago: that the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude would continue."

Jeanne-Claude, Christo, The Gates

Jeanne-Claude, Christo, The Umbrellas

Jeanne-Claude, Christo, Reichstag
[Photos: Jeanne-Claude and Christo in front of The Gates | The Gates, New York (2005) | The Umbrellas, Japan (1991) | Reichstag, Berlin (1995)]


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