Story at a glance

  • Christo Vladimirov Javacheff was an artist known for large-scale environmental art installations.
  • Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, often worked together on installations.
  • He died on May 31 at his home in New York according to a statement on the couple's Twitter account.

It would have been very difficult to miss one of Christo Vladimirov Javacheff’s installations if you’ve passed by it. 

He and his wife, Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, who often worked together as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were known for their temporary large scale art installations, including "The Gates" in Central Park. "The Mastaba," a planned trapezoidal structure of more than 400,000 oil barrels in the western part of the United Arab Emirates was to be the couple's only lasting large-scale collaboration, but Christo would not see it. 

He died on May 31 at 84 while at his home in New York, according to a post on their official Twitter account. 

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He and Jeanne-Claude were both born on June 13, 1935, in Bulgaria and France, respectively, and first met in Paris in 1958. Three years later, "Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages" became their first collaboration and also their first temporary outdoor environmental work of art. 


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A few years later, Christo and Jean-Claude moved to New York City, where he would reside the rest of his life. His art, however, travelled all around the world and the United States, temporarily using part of the environment at every site. 

"In doing so, we see and perceive the whole environment with new eyes and a new consciousness. The effect lasts longer than the actual work of art. Years after every physical trace has been removed and the materials recycled, original visitors can still see and feel them in their minds when they return to the sites of the artworks," their website said.

“The Gates” was installed in New York City's Central Park in 2005, using the bare branches of the trees in February to hold up free-hanging saffron colored fabric panels. Another, "The Umbrellas," stretched across borders, with part of the installation in California and another part in Japan. 

More recently, the artists had planned an installation that wrapped the L'Arc de Triomphe in Paris that was postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview published just days before his death, Christo told Apollo magazine that his partnership with Jeanne-Claude would come full circle in the city where they had first met. 

“Perhaps she is behind this,” he told Apollo. “Because, you know, as they say, ‘We will always have Paris.’”


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Published on Jun 01, 2020