Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe Has Begun

Decades of planning are now a reality

Arc de Triomphe wrapped
Workers begin the process of wrapping up the Arc De Triomphe monument in silver-blue fabric on September 12, 2021, in Paris, France.
Siegfried Modola/Getty Images

Plenty of works of art outlive their creators. The number of works of art that aren’t begun until after the minds that envisioned them is far smaller. That doesn’t mean that none exist, however — and the latest evidence of that can be seen in Paris. For years, artistic duo of Christo and Jeanne-Claude planned to wrap Paris’s storied Arc de Triomphe — putting their signature artistic flourish on one of Europe’s best-known structures.

At The Guardian, Kim Willsher reports that the work of wrapping the archway has begun. Willsher described it as “a slow and meticulous operation” — albeit one that also inspired one onlooker to burst into applause when it began. This is the final stage of preparing the Arc de Triomphe for the installation, following the placement of scaffolding to keep the wrapping off the monument itself.

It’s a bold work, and one that’s been in the works for over half a century.

The idea first came to mind in 1962, and both artists continued to work to turn it into a reality. Neither artist is with us any longer, but this long in the works project is finally on the verge of being completed. It was approved in 2017, delayed by the pandemic and was scheduled earlier this year.

L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped will be on view from September 18 through October 3. And if you are planning to travel from the United States to visit it, you should be aware of France’s new restrictions on travelers from the United States.

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