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Jeanne-Claude, wife of Christo, dies

Artist Jeanne-Claude, who created the 2005 Central Park installation "The Gates" and other large-scale "wrapping" projects with her husband Christo, has died aged 74.

Jeanne-Claude, born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon in Casablanca, Morocco, was educated in Switzerland and France, her family living in Bern from 1948 to 1951.

The Swiss capital was also the setting for Christo's first "wrap" – in July 1968 the Kunsthalle museum got the Christo treatment to mark its 50th birthday.

Thirty years later they wrapped 178 trees in the grounds of the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, just outside Basel.

"The Gates" festooned 37km of Central Park's footpaths with thousands of saffron drapes hung from specially designed frames. It was seen by more than five million people.

Their other projects include wrapping the Reichstag in Germany, the Pont Neuf in Paris and a Roman wall in Italy. A 1991 project involved thousands of bright yellow and blue umbrellas positioned across kilometres of inland valleys in Japan and California.

Their projects required mammoth manpower and kilometres of fabric and other materials. The umbrella project employed 1,880 workers. The couple recycled all materials following each project.

Jeanne-Claude and Christo, born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in Bulgaria, said they never accepted any sponsorship and financed all their temporary installations through the projects, including the sale of their preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and original lithographs.

The two artists were born on exactly the same day – June 13, 1935 – and met in Paris in 1958. They made their home in Manhattan, where they had lived for 45 years.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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