The world-renowned artist Christo will wrap Paris’ Arc de Triomphe in 25,000 square metres of silvery-blue recyclable fabric and 7000 metres of red rope in a project that has been nearly 60 years in the making.

Artist Christo will temporarily transform Paris’ Arc de Triomphe next spring. Image by Shutterstock

The piece, entitled L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l’Etoile-Charles de Gaulle), was first conceived by Christo and Jeanne Claude, his late art partner and wife, in 1962, shortly after they first met in Paris. One of their projects was to wrap a public building. At the time, Christo, who was renting a small room near the Arc de Triomphe, made several studies of a project there, including, in 1962, a photo-montage of the Paris landmark wrapped, seen from the Avenue Foch. Now, after nearly 60 years, the architectural artwork will be realised in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.

Pencil, charcoal, wax crayon, fabric, twine, enamel paint, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, hand-drawn map and tape. Image by André Grossmann/Christo

The project will see the iconic 49.5 metre-tall monument on the Champs-Élysées sheathed in a silvery blue fabric made from recyclable polypropylene, secured with 7000 metres of red rope. It will be on display between 6-19 April, 2020. Christo has illustrated the anticipated result in a series of drawings and photographs overlaid with pencil, wax crayon and enamel paint.

The artists had previously wrapped monuments such as the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris. Last year, Christo created The London Mastaba, an architectural artwork created from 7506 colourful, horizontally-stacked barrels and floats on Serpentine Lake in London.

The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Place de l’Etoile, Charles de Gaulle, Paris. Image by André Grossmann/Christo

Its realisation will coincide with a major exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou, from 18 March to 15 June, 2020, retracing Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s years in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well as the story of The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Project for Paris, 1975-85. “The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou will reveal the historical context of the period during which we lived and worked in Paris,” said Christo.

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