National Gallery of Art
Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Vogel Collection next
 

Introduction

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel met in 1971. Their thirty-year friendship has resulted in a collection that surveys four decades of the artists' career. Owing to the extraordinary generosity of the Christos and the Vogels, this body of work is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, where it was on view in an exhibition from 3 February to 23 June 2002. Twenty-six of the sixty-one works in the exhibition are highlighted in this Web feature.

Christo (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff) was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, on 13 June 1935 and spent his youth under Communist rule. He studied at art academies in Sofia and Vienna. Jeanne-Claude (Jeanne-Claude Marie de Guillebon 1935-2009), whose birth date is also 13 June 1935, was born of French parents in Casablanca, Morocco, and grew up in Paris, Bern, Switzerland, and Gabès, Tunisia, before finally settling with her family in Paris. In 1957, Christo escaped from Eastern Europe to the West. He was wrapping objects in various materials at that time, though it was through portraiture that he primarily supported himself. The couple met in Paris in 1958 when he was making portraits of Jeanne-Claude's mother.

In 1961, the artists began collaborating on monumental projects--endeavors in which the medium has largely been fabric, chosen for its fluid and ephemeral qualities. Christo and Jeanne-Claude share joint authorship of the large-scale projects; however, Christo makes the wrapped objects, packages, scale models, and drawings. The projects are solely funded by the sale of these works, as the artists do not accept sponsorship. The Christos' early projects, mainly involving extant architecture, managed to both conceal and underscore the essential character and meaning of a site. Over time, their use of fabric has become freer and more open. The realized projects remain installed for a finite time, yet their impermanence heightens their aesthetic appeal. They only exist afterward in photographs (such as the ten presented on this Web site), preparatory drawings, films, books, and in the memories of viewers.

All images © Christo

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Packages Store Fronts Air Packages
Wrapped Coast Valley Curtain Running Fence
Wrapped Walk Ways Surrounded Islands The Pont Neuf Wrapped
The Umbrellas Wrapped Reichstag Wrapped Trees
The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi The Gates Over the River
Introduction || Related Resources
 

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