Christo: Bulgarian, 1935 - 2020 | Jeanne-Claude: Morrocan, 1935 - 2009
Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in October 1958 when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of her mother, Précilda de Guillebon. Their first show, in Cologne, 1961, showcased the three types of artworks for which they would be known: wrapped items, oil barrels, and ephemeral, large-scale works. Near Christo's first solo show in Paris, in 1962, the pair blocked an alley with 240 barrels for several hours in a piece called Iron Curtain, a poetic reply to the Berlin Wall.
They developed consistent, longtime terms of their collaboration. They together imagined projects, for which Christo would create sketches and preparatory works that were later sold to fund the resulting installation. Christo and Jeanne-Claude hired assistants to do the work of wrapping the object at hand. They originally worked under the name "Christo" to simplify dealings and their brand, given the difficulties of establishing an artist's reputation and the prejudices against female artists, but they would later retroactively credit their large-scale outdoor works to both "Christo and Jeanne-Claude". They eventually flew in separate planes such that, in case one crashed, the other could continue their work.