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GREATEST: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Anya Firestone documents the duo's fairytale of art, romance and legacy in conversation with the couple's nephews.

Introduction and interview: Anya Firestone Images: Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation
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“Once upon a time … ” That verbal quartet that opens each fairy tale is perhaps no better suited than to the love story of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the husband-and-wife artist duo known for their monumental installations. From wrapping iconic landmarks like the Reichstag building in Berlin (Wrapped Reichstag, 1971–1995) to adorning Central Park with saffron-colored fabric (The Gates, 1979–2005), their environmental artworks not only challenged the boundaries of traditional art forms at an exterior level, but also poignantly marked the power of collaboration within the interiority of a romantic relationship. Born, once upon a time, in the same hour, day and year (June 13, 1935), Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s kismet connection was an integral ingredient to creating art as rare as their partnership.

Staking future locations for 'The Umbrellas' project, California, 1988. Photo: Wolfgang Volz © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.   
At home in SoHo, New York City, 1965. Photo: Ugo Mulas © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation and Ugo Mulas Heirs.    
LEFT: A preparatory collage for 'The Gates' project in Central Park, New York City, 1980. Private collection. Photo: Archive © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation. / RIGHT: 'The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979–2005.' Photo: Wolfgang Volz © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.   
Installation of 'Surrounded Islands,' Florida, 1983. Photo: Wolfgang Volz © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.   
LEFT: Installation of 'The Floating Piers,' Italy, 2016. Photo: Sylvia Volz © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation. / RIGHT: A preparatory collage for 'The Floating Piers' project on Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016. Private collection. Photo: André Grossmann © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.   
Installation of 'L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,' Paris, 2021. Photo: Wolfgang Volz © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.   

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