Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in Paris in 1958. They were not only husband and wife, but also life-long partners in art. Together, they produced some of the world's most ambitious site-specific environmental art installations. Known for their wrapped buildings and large outdoor projects, they brought joy and wonder to everyday reality.
Christo was born in Bulgaria in 1935. Jeanne-Claude was born in Casablanca, Morocco, where her father was serving in the army. After marrying in 1962, the couple moved to New York. Fascinated by the city’s architecture, Christo began his early series of Store Fronts. The couple also started to work on their first major wrapped projects. Among them was Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968–69 , in which the artists wrapped 2.4 km. of the Australian coastline in fabric.
Over the following decades, Christo and Jeanne-Claude took their practice across the globe. In 1976 they completed Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972–76 : a 40 km. fence that ran into the Pacific Ocean. In Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 , they surrounded 11 islands with 600,000 square meters of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric. Back in Paris in 1985, they wrapped the Pont Neuf, covering both the bridge and its 44 streetlamps.
By the 1990s, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had achieved widespread international acclaim. In 1991, they orchestrated the simultaneous opening of 3,100 yellow and blue umbrellas in Japan and California. In 1995, after more than 20 years of planning, they completed their landmark project Wrapped Reichstag . Cloaked in 100,000 square metres of silver fabric and blue rope, the building revealed itself anew at a pivotal moment in Berlin’s history. In 2005, the artists took over Central Park, New York, with 7,503 vinyl gates covered in free-flowing fabric.
After Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, Christo continued their practice. He produced notable works in their name, including The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014–16 and L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961–2021 . Christo had first conceived the latter at the start of his career, but would not live to see its completion. He died in New York in 2020.
Drawings, sketches, collages and scale models formed a vital part of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's projects. While these are attributed to Christo alone, along with his early artwork, all projects and installations bear both of their names.
Surrounded Islands (Project for Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida)
Empaquetage d'un paire de chausseres de femme dans cadre (Wrapped Pair of Women's Shoes in a Frame)
Packed girl, project for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia