Christo, who never gave up a centimeter of freedom, dies

DATE: 2020.6.1

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Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935 - 2020)

The Bulgarian-born artist Christo, known for massive environmental public arts projects wrapping buildings and famous landmarks in fabric or plastic with his wife Jeanne-Claude, has died in New York on May 31, 2020, aged 84. He passed away of natural causes at his home according to the statement from Christo’s office.

“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have always made clear that their artworks in progress be continued after their deaths,” as stated in the official release on Facebook post of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

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Artist Christo‘s death was announced was announced on Twitter and the artist's web page


Official Release on Facebook 

Born on June 13, 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia before moving to Prague in 1957, Czechoslovakia, and then escaped to Vienna, Austria, then moved to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1958, Christo went to Paris, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. They were born on the same day in the same year and, according to him, “in the same moment,” and would become partners in life and the creation of monumental environmental works of art. Jeanne-Claude passed away on November 18, 2009. Christo lived in New York City for 56 years.

In an interview with the Art Newspaper, Christo talked about his wrapping aesthetic in art projects as “like classical sculpture, all our wrapped projects are not solid buildings; they are moving with wind, they are breathing. The fabric is very sensual and inviting; it’s like a skin.”

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude © Getty Images 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude insisted on paying for all of theirs works on their own and they did not accept any donation or scholarship, “I like to be absolutely free, to be totally irrational with no justification for what I like to do,” he said. “I will not give up one centimeter of my freedom for anything.”

View of Artworks

In Christo and Jeanne-Claude's art creation, they differentiate between the "software" and the "hardware" period of a project. The software period is the time during which the project exists only on Christo’s preparatory works of art and in the imagination of the artists. The hardware period is the time during which the project is physically built and exhibited.

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View of the Timeline (Selected Part) of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's art creation

Grey part for the "software" period while brown part for the "hardware" period.

Early Works

Early Works.pngView of Early Works


包裹摩托车|Wrapped Motorcycle

Polyethylene, rope and motorcycle
38 1/4 x 67 x 19 5/8" (97 x 170 x 50 cm)
Collection Philippe and Denyse Durand-Ruel, France
Photo: Archive
© 1962 Christo


包裹让娜·克劳德肖像|Wrapped Portrait of Jeanne-Claude

Oil on canvas portrait by Christo Javacheff, wrapped with polyethylene and rope by Christo, mounted on black wooden board
30 7/8 x 20 1/8 x 2" (78.5 x 51.2 x 5 cm)
Collection David C. Copley (Promised gift to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA)
Photo: Christian Baur
© 1963 Christo


油桶墙,J画廊,巴黎|Wall of Oil Barrels, Galerie J, Paris, 1962
Photo: Jean-Dominique Lajoux
© 1962 Christo
已不再存在|No longer in existence

Temporary Sculptures

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View of Temporary Scupltures



The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake)

Drawing 2018 in two parts

Pencil, charcoal, wax crayon, enamel paint, hand-drawn map on vellum, technical data, mylar and tape
15 x 65" and 42 x 65" (38 x 165 cm and 106.6 x 165 cm)
Photo: André Grossmann
© 2018 Christo
Ref. # 3-2018


克里斯托和让娜·克劳德|Christo and Jeanne-Claude

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2018 Christo


克里斯托和让娜·克劳德|Christo and Jeanne-Claude

The Wall - 13,000 Oil Barrels, Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, 1998-99
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1999 Christo

Realized Projects

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View of Realized Projects


克里斯托和让娜·克劳德|Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida

Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1983 Christo


克里斯托和让娜·克劳德|Christo and Jeanne-Claude
谷幕,科罗拉多州|Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado

Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1972 Christo


克里斯托和让娜·克劳德|Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76
Photo: Jeanne-Claude
© 1976 Christo

Projects Not Realized

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View of Projects Not Realized



The Museum of Modern Art Wrapped (Project for New York)
比例模型|Scale model 1968

Fabric, rope, twine, polyethylene and painted wood
16 x 48 1/8 x 24 1/8" (40.6 x 122.2 x 61.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA (Gift of Dominique and John de Menil)
Photo: Eeva-Inkeri
© 1968 Christo

Works In Progress


阿布扎比马斯塔巴|The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates)
拼贴照片|Collaged photographs 

1977. 1979 (Detail)

Pencil, charcoal and photographs by Wolfgang Volz
14 x 22" (35.5 x 56 cm)
Photo: André Grossmann
© 1979 Christo


包裹公共建筑|Wrapped Public Building (Project for Arc de Triomphe, Paris)
蒙太奇照片|Photomontage 1962
9 7/8 x 27 7/8" (25.2 x 70.8 cm)
Photo: Harry Shunk
© 1962 Christo

包裹巴黎凯旋门|L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris) Place de l'Etoile – Charles de Gaulle
拼贴|Collage 2019

Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, architectural and topographic survey, hand-drawn map on vellum and tape
17 x 22" (43.2 x 55.9 cm)
Photo: André Grossmann
© 2019 Christo


L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped was postponed to September 18, 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Christo’s temporary work of art in Paris, France, titled L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l'Étoile), is scheduled for September 18–October 3, 2021. Additionally, a major exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou about Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work and time in Paris will be on view in 2021, from September 18–October 3 (which was initially planned to be held from July 1–October 19, 2020).






Translated and Edited by

Sue and Emily/CAFA ART INFO

Images of Artworks Courtesy of Artist Web Page