Letter about New York’s “The Gates” from Bulgarian-American Artist Christo, Known for his Monumental Fabric Installations

Signed by Christo

$300
Item: 20707
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CHRISTO (CHRISTO VLADIMIROV JAVACHEFF). (b. 1935). Bulgarian-American artist known for his monumental fabric installations. Printed TLS. (“Christo”). 1p. 4to. New York, February 1981. To Leslie-Ann.

I am pleased to send you, for your information, a copy of the supplement we filled with Gordon Davis, to our application for a Permit to create ‘The Gates, project for Central Park’. In addition to the Environmental Impact Statement we have asked the Environmental Science Associates to prepare, as described in the supplement, we have also asked Dr. Kenneth Clark to prepare a study on what the project will mean to the people of this City. With very best thoughts…”

The son of a Bulgarian fabric manufacturer father and a mother who worked as an administrator at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Christo studied art in Prague and Vienna before moving to Paris in 1958. There he made a living painting portraits and fell in love with Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, the daughter of one of his subjects, who would become his lifelong artistic collaborator. Their first large scale work was Rideau de Fer (Iron Curtain), an unauthorized installation which protested the Berlin Wall in 1961. Eventually relocating to the United States, they staged such monumental works as Wrapped Coast, which wrapped Little Bay in Australia in 2½ kilometers of fabric, the largest such installation at the time. They went on to cover such notable landmarks as Berlins’ Reichstag and Paris’ Pont-Neuf as well as experiment with other media such as umbrellas with The Umbrellas in Japan and California.

Our letter pertains to Christo’s monumental installation The Gates, for which 7,503 vermillion vinyl Japanese-inspired “gates” were built in New York’s Central Park in 2005. Gordon J. Davis (b. 1941) was New York City’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation from 1978-1983 and founder of the Central Park Conservancy, with whom Christo began discussing the project in 1980. Davis nixed the project in February 1981 and continued to oppose it for 24 years during which time he led the process of restoring Central Park. However, he eventually lent his support in 2003. Early in the planning process, Christo hired prominent New York sociologist Kenneth Clark (1914-2005) to poll New Yorkers about the proposed project. He interviewed 660 people finding more popular support for The Gates among the poor than the rich.

Creased with some toning and wear at the edges. In very good condition. Including a small pink invitation to Christo’s March 22, 1990 lecture entitled “Four Works in Progress” and an unrelated envelope bearing a stamped return address of “Christo: The Umbrellas / Joint Project for Japan and U.S.A.”

The Gates

Letter about New York’s “The Gates” from Bulgarian-American Artist Christo, Known for his Monumental Fabric Installations

Signed by Christo

$300 • item #20707


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