Christo: 1935 – 2020

We make beautiful things, unbelievably useless, totally unnecessary – Christo

Christo, 2016

Artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known as Christo, passed away on May 31, 2020, at his home in New York City. He was 84 years old. Christo died of natural causes, according to the press release posted on his website.

Christo spent most of his adult life creating works that defied description. They were at once art, performance and grand social events.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff was born n Gabrovo, Bulgaria on June 13, 1935. His father was a chemist who ran a factory that made fabrics. His mother was a political activist. Oppressive politics in eastern Europe in 1956 led Christo to bribe a railway worker to let him hide on a train taking medicine to Austria. He went to Vienna and then to Paris, where he lived the life of a struggling artist, painting portraits on the street.

His luck changed when a passer-by invited him to her chateau to paint her portrait. Her daughter, Jean-Claude Denat de Guillebon, was at home. She became Christo’s wife, muse and partner in his projects.

Their collaborations lasted for more than fifty years.

The couple did some ‘wrapped’ projects in Paris, before moving to New York in 1964 where he created an exhibit, a storefront with a wrapped air conditioner, at the Castelli Gallery.

Christo had bigger plans. He wanted to wrap entire buildings.

Christo
Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969
National Gallery of Art Library

In 1969 he got permission to wrap the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and, later that year, wrapped a million square feet of coastline near Sydney, Australia.

Christo’s projects became bigger and bolder. Each began with preliminary drawings, collages and lithographs, which were sold to finance each venture. He and Jean-Claude payed for each project themselves and didn’t accept any outside help with finances.

Christo
Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, 1983

In 1983, Christo surrounded eleven islands in Biscayne Bay with woven polypropylene fabric. Like all of his projects, he had to get through government bureaucracy and public objections to get approval. The results, like most of his projects, was an installation that brought joy and wonder to a city that had been facing race riots, a refugee crises, violent crime, drug trafficking and a sinking economy.

Jean Claude died in 2009, at age 74. The couple are survived by their son, Cyril Christo, a wildlife photographer.

The Works of Christo at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Christo available at VFA.

See More Christo Artwork for Sale


References:
Waldemar Januszczak. Warhol by Blake Gopnik review — the truth about the pop art pioneer. The Sunday Times. February 16, 2020.
Joan Acocella. Untangling Andy Warhol. The New Yorker. June 1, 2020.
Simon Elmes. The secrets of Andy Warhol’s time capsules. BBC News. September 10, 2014.

Christo in Paris, Alex Katz in Madrid

Christo in Paris

In 1983, Christo wrapped eleven islands in Biscayne Bay with more than 6 million square feel of pink floating fabric. Surrounded Islands was one of the most controversial projects that the city had ever seen, with the artist having to go to Federal court to get permission to execute his plans.

More than thirty years later, Christo returned to Miami during Art Basel, and toured the area that generated much controversy and ultimately removed more than forty tons of garbage from the Bay, employed more than 400 people, brought thousands of tourists to the area during two weeks it was on view, strengthened the city’s outlook and even its future as metropolis for the art world.

Christo’s latest project has been in the works for nearly sixty years. Last April, Christo received permission from the French government and the country’s Center for National Monuments to wrap the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.

The project will coincide with an exhibition at the Pompidou Center that looks back on the early years that Christo and his wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, spent in Paris. Jean-Claude died in 2009 at age 74, from complications due to a brain aneurism. 

To wrap the 164-foot tall monument, Christo will use 82,000 square feet of recyclable polypropylene fabric and 23,000 square feet of red rope.

L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is entirely funded by Christo through the sale of his studies, drawings and collages of the project’s inception, and will be on view from April 6 through 19, 2020.

Alex Katz in Spain

Alex Katz has always marched to the beat of his own drummer…and his strong will has paid off. Last October, his 1972 painting Blue Umbrella I sold for $4.1 million at the Phillips auction house in London, a new record for his work.

While Abstract Expressionism, Op and Pop Art were trending, Katz created landscapes, still life paintings and portraits with clean lines and sophisticated colors. Ada, his wife and muse, has been the subject of more than 200 of his paintings, including Blue Umbrella.

Alex Katz
Blue Umbrella, 1972

Alex Katz is about to have his first solo exhibit in Spain, at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid. The exhibit consists of about thirty large oil paintings and preparatory studies of Katz’s landscapes, flowers and portraits.

The exhibit will be on display from June 23 through October 4, 2020.

The Works of Christo and Alex Katz at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Christo or the landscapes, portraits and sculptures of Alex Katz for sale at VFA.

References:
Cecilia Rodriguez. Christo Will Wrap Paris’ Arc de Triomphe in Silver-Blue. Forbes. April 9, 2019.
Joshua Barone. Christo’s Next Project: Wrapping the Arc de Triomphe. The New York Times. April 3, 2019.
Christo during the installation of Oil Barrels Structure, 1961

Christo Wrapped Bottles and Cans

The well known artist Christo, often worked with his wife, Jean-Claude in the creation of modern art sculptures. Unfortunately, Jean-Claude passed away in 2009, but the world had yet to see the last artwork the artist would reveal to the public.

In what could possibly have been one of his most ambitious wrapping project of all time, Christo wrapped a lake in bright yellow fabric.

On the nineteenth of June this year, Christo installed The Floating Piers on lake Iseo in Italy. The large work of art proved to fascinate the public with its interactive twist. Like a large yellow cloth spread across the lake, it enabled visitors to the small town of Sulzano to walk on the lake. Pictures of this innovative piece of art soon went viral on social media channels, and during the two weeks that The Floating Piers was open to the public, it attracted more than a million visitors who bravely decided to walk the waters of lake Iseo.

But once this artwork had seen enough of the spotlight, it was promptly removed and processed into various materials for recycling. Christo views this impermanence of his work as an act of freedom that’s meant to avoid ownership, which he views as an opposing force to freedom.

It would be a pity if Christo’s works, like this most recent project, were destroyed after a matter of weeks. You’d be glad to know that this isn’t the case. Many of his prints and wrapped objects are still available for art enthusiasts to collect and admire. And luckily these pieces don’t seem like they’ll be disappearing soon, either.

Christo’s prints are timeless and interesting. Even when the object that’s been concealed is easily identifiable, the works still leave viewers with a sense of mystery regarding the works.

Christo’s Wrapped Bottles and Cans

Of course, even before his walkway on an Italian lake was revealed, Christo has been known for wrapping various objects.

One project in particular that attracted attention were his wrapped bottles and cans. The artist’s interest in both the concealment of three-dimensional objects and a comparison of the qualities of these objects, led him to wrap bottles and cans in resin-soaked canvas. He then painted these concealed objects with a mixture to seal them and emphasize their texture.

These wrapped items were originally used in an installation called Inventory, an artwork that featured all of Christo’s wrapped bottles and cans piled in a corner as if part of a household’s inventory. Since then, the artwork has been scattered and these bottles and cans are now part of various collections in different locations. And unfortunately, many of the wrapped bottles and cans have been lost.

Apart from wrapped objects, Christo has also created prints of these artworks. Currently, we have some of Christo’s prints available for sale in our gallery. These prints capture the heart and feeling of Christo’s work and his interest in shape and concealment. If you are an admirer of the artist’s work, we welcome you to contact us or visit us at our gallery, where we display work with a particular focus on Pop, Abstract Expressionism and Optical Art.

Artwork for Sale - Tom Wesselman

New Artwork for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

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Vertu Fine Art is pleased to bring you the latest offerings from acclaimed masters. If you’re in reach of our Boca Raton gallery, please visit. Call for an appointment or stop in anytime. If you’re looking for specific artwork for sale, please contact us and we’ll do our best to source them for you.


Tom Wesselmann
Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, 1991

Tom Wesselmann is a Pop Art favorite at Vertu. Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, 1991, is a welcomed acquisition for any Wesselmann collector. The work, done in pencil and Liquitex on Bristol Board, shows off the bold lines and rich colors that are emblematic of the artist’s pallet. As with many Wesselmann works, the artistic influence of Matisse and de Kooning are evident in this horizontal composition, yet the piece is uniquely Wesselmann.


Andy Warhol
Flash-November 22,1963, (II.42)
1968

Flash-November 22,1963 II.42, 1968 is a work from Andy Warhol’s famous Flash series of prints. Warhol’s Flash portfolio consists of eleven works, all focused on the mass media coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s celebrity, particularly the attention paid to the 1963 assassination. This series of screenprints is based upon campaign posters, advertisements and mass media images. Warhol, who was fond of President Kennedy, was reportedly bothered by the overwhelming media coverage of the tragedy. Typical of Andy Warhol’s style, as a person and artist, the work is unemotional yet powerful.


Andy Warhol
Dracula – (II.264) from the “Myths” portfolio, 1981

Dracula II.264 from Myths, 1981 is another special Andy Warhol print on display at Vertu Fine Art. Dracula is one of ten iconic figures depicted in Warhol’s Myths portfolio. Each work in the series was created with “Diamond Dust” and is a 38” x 38” square. In this series, Dracula shares the spotlight with a unique arrangement of cast members, including Mickey Mouse, Superman, Howdy Doody, Wicked Witch of the West, Santa Claus, The Shadow and Uncle Sam. Warhol’s friends nicknamed this print, “Drella” – a combination of Dracula and Cinderella. The series is thought to represent various facets of Andy Warhol’s personality.


Wayne Thiebaud
Country City, 1988

It’s difficult not to smile when viewing Country City, 1988 by artist Wayne Thiebaud. Considered to be a forerunner of the Pop Art movement, Thiebaud, like a number of Pop Artists, worked as a commercial artist prior to becoming well-known for his style. Country City is emblematic of the artist’s exaggerated themes blended with realistic elements, such as Thiebaud’s hyper-realistic use of shadows. Whether you’re a Wayne Thiebaud collector or merely an admirer, this is a masterwork that is sure to engage and delight the viewer.


Christo
Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar, Project for Harley Davidson 1933 VL Model, 1997

Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude are known worldwide for their “wrapped” works. They’ve wrapped monuments, buildings and a part of the Australian coastline. The duo has wrapped objects large and small, around the world. New Yorkers may remember their installation of The Gates in Central Park, which featured 7,503 saffron colored fabric paneled gates, looking like a golden river running through the park. New to VFA is this Christo Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar, Project for Harley-Davidson 1933 VL Model, 1997. Christo and Jeanne-Claude collectors will marvel at this print and enjoy owning a piece of history shared between the artist and the Harley Davidson company.


Roy Lichtenstein
Still Life with Red Jar, 1994

Roy Lichtenstein collectors will surely be glad to see the latest print, Still Life with Red Jar, at VFA. This famous Lichtenstein screenprint represents the Pop Artist’s comic book inspired style. The important role that Roy Lichtenstein played in launching the Pop Art movement, in terms of pop culture elements, unemotional affect and commercial styling are noticeable in this work.


Marilyn Minter
Gold Tip, 2009

The work of Marilyn Minter never fails to elicit a visceral response. That’s why Gold Tip is a photograph that we’re rather fond of at VFA. This 40” x 60” C-Print is one of five produced. The artist, who works out of New York City, has become known for a hyper-realistic style, charged with subjects that exude glamour, sexuality and eroticism. In 1989, Marilyn created a series of works based on hardcore pornographic images that stirred up controversy from women’s rights proponents. She defended her works and challenged critics to rethink their perspective, asking, “Does it change the meaning if a woman uses these kinds of images?” (Wikipedia). Today, the artist is known for her powerful works created via paint, photography and video production.


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