Artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known as Christo, died of natural causes on May 31 2020 at the age of 84, at his home in New York City, according to a notice on the official Facebook post of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Born on June 13 1935 in the town of Gabrovo in Bulgaria, Christo left the country in 1957, going first to Prague and then on to Vienna and later to Geneva. Christo lived in New York City for 56 years.
A statement from Christo’s office said: “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. Per Christo’s wishes, ‘L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped’ in Paris, France, is still on track for September 18 – October 3 2021, the Facebook post said.
He met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, his wife and life partner in the creation of monumental environmental works of art, in Paris in 1958. Jeanne-Claude died on November 18 2009.
From early wrapped objects to monumental outdoor projects, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork transcended the traditional bounds of painting, sculpture and architecture, the Facebook post said.
Some of their work included Wrapped Coast, Little Bay in Sydney, Australia (1968–69), Valley Curtain in Colorado (1970–72), Running Fence in California (1972–76), Surrounded Islands in Miami (1980–83), The Pont Neuf Wrapped in Paris (1975–85), The Umbrellas in Japan and California (1984–91), Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin (1972–95), The Gates in New York’s Central Park (1979–2005), The Floating Piers at Italy’s Lake Iseo (2014–16), and The London Mastaba on London’s Serpentine Lake (2016–18).
Apart from L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l’Étoile), a major exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work and time in Paris will be on view from July 1–October 19 2020.
“In a 1958 letter Christo wrote, ‘Beauty, science and art will always triumph.’ We hold those words closely today,” the Facebook post said.
Bulgarian National Television journalist Evgenia Atanassova, an authority on the artist, said in her coverage of his death: “Christo cannot be spoken of in the past tense. Because Christo is always the dream of something big, the courage to leave everything behind and start again, to be free, to put the love of art above everything rational, small and human!”
“Even though his iconic art is defined as temporary, everything done by him will be in the hearts of millions who experienced his projects. Because in them are contained the simple and eternal things – freedom, love, tenderness, vulnerability – which are not subject to time,” she said.