Lot 3458 - A195 PostWar & Contemporary - Saturday, 05. December 2020, 02.30 PM


(Gabrowo 1935–2020 New York City)
The Umbrellas (Joint Project for Japan and USA). 1987.
Pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, enamel paint and map.
Signed and dated lower left on the left panel: Christo 1987, as well as with additional project details on the upper and lower margin. On the reverse with hanging instructions.
Drawing in two parts: 244 × 38 cm and 244 × 106.6 cm. In the original plexiglas frame.

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Archive Christo und Jeanne-Claude, New York, 13 October 2020. We thank the archive for their kind support.

- Artist's studio.
- Received directly form the artist, since then private collection Switzerland.

“Throughout the history of art, fabrics and textiles have fascinated artists. The structure of fabrics – drapery, pleats, and folds – have been an important component of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and structures in wood, stone, and bronze, from the most ancient times to the present. (...) Lengths of cloth – like clothing or skin – have something delicate and sensitive about them: they illustrate the unique quality of the ephemeral.” Christo & Jeanne-Claude

The large-scale projects by Christo & Jeanne-Claude require not only well-considered logistics, but also political influence and a system for independent financing. Through the advance sale of drawings, sketches, collages and photographs, the artistic projects of this artist couple have always been self-financed. We have before us two wonderful works, which were created before the realisation of each project: the wrapping of Pont Neuf in Paris and “The Umbrellas” – a project for Japan and USA.

Christo's temporary projects seek public status. They make themselves fully part of the social context from the very first moment of their creation to the media follow-up with the book and film: the socio-political and economic framework is an important part of the works. The projects are consistently conceived as contrasting scenarios - landscape projects like "The Umbrellas" in a hilly setting - a magical fascination and the pure visual beauty of man’s work in nature. In contrast to this, we see the wrapping of urban and historical buildings, such as the oldest bridge over the Seine in Paris, the Pont Neuf - majestic beauty, veiled in sand-coloured and silky shimmering fabric.

“The umbrellas” is the only project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that spanned two continents, Japan and the USA, the world's richest economies at the time. Here are some facts: The route of the Umbrellas set up in Japan extended along a valley 75 km north of Tokyo and occupied 459 private and public plots of land. The 1340 blue umbrellas were distributed over 10 km through the green hills. Its counterpart in the USA was located 96 km north of Los Angeles and occupied 26 private and state properties. The 1760 yellow umbrellas extended for 29 km through desert-like hills. The exhibitions opened simultaneously on October 9, 1991 and lasted 18 days, but the conception and planning to make this happen took almost 7 years. The entire project was completed by the artist couple together with 1880 workers. 11 manufacturers from Japan, the USA, Germany, and Canada supplied the umbrella parts, to be assembled in California. These consisted of a 6 meter-high aluminium structure, with a diameter of 8.5 meters, covered with fabric and stabilised with a steel and wooden base. The bases were installed in the landscapes between August and September 1991 and within a few days all 3100 umbrellas were erected and opened.

CHF 150 000 / 200 000

€ 140 190 / 186 920

Sold for CHF 390 700 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.