Wrapped Trees


Christo and Jeanne-Claude have worked with trees for many years. Nursery trees are commonly found with both their roots and crowns wrapped and it is also common to see trees temporarily wrapped as protection against frost or during transport.

Christo created his first Wrapped Tree in 1966 as part of his personal exhibition at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. By placing the tree, with its roots wrapped in fabric and branches wrapped in polyethylene, inside the museum, where it was shown on a pedestal, Christo changed its natural habitat to a novel one creating a paradoxical sight.

In the same year, Christo and Jeanne-Claude proposed to wrap the crowns of about forty live trees near the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, Missouri. Christo and Jeanne-Claude wanted to wrap the trees in winter, when they are leafless and dormant, but the project fell through because the university that owned the park opposed it.

In 1969, the artists started to negotiate permission for wrapping the 330 trees bordering the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Rond Point in Paris. The project was denied by Maurice Papon, Prefect of Paris, because the city had decided instead to decorate the trees with electric Christmas lights.

32 years after their initial attempt to wrap live trees, Christo and Jeanne-Claude finally succeeded with Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98 when they wrapped 178 live trees.

Christo
"Packed Trees" (Temporary Monument - 4 Monts Duration) Forest Park St. Louis Missouri
Collage 1966-67
28 x 23" (71 x 58.4 cm)
Pencil, enamel paint, wax crayon, photograph and tracing paper
Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, USA (Gift of Christo and Jeanne-Claude and museum purchase: Eliza McMillan Fund)
Photo: Saint Louis Art Museum
© 1967 Christo
Wrapped Trees (Project for Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri)
Christo
Wrapped Trees (Project for Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri)
Scale model 1966-67
11 1/2 x 30 x 30" (29 x 76 x 76 cm)
Polyethylene, rope, wood, plastic and paint
Photo: Eeva-Inkeri
© 1967 Christo
380 Wrapped Trees (Project for Avenue des Champs Elysées and Rond Point des Champs Elysées in Paris)
Christo
380 Wrapped Trees (Project for Avenue des Champs Elysées and Rond Point des Champs Elysées in Paris)
Collage 1969
27 1/2 x 21 3/4" (70 x 55 cm)
Pencil, polyethylene, thread, photograph, wax crayon, map and tape
Collection Sylvio Perlstein, Antwerp, Belgium
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 1969 Christo
Wrapped Trees (Approximately 267) Project for the Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris
Christo
Wrapped Trees (Approximately 267) Project for the Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris
Collage 1969
22 x 28" (56 x 71 cm)
Pencil, polyethylene, twine, wax crayon and charcoal
The Olnick Spanu Foundation, New York, USA
Photo: The Olnick Spanu Foundation
© 1969 Christo
380 Wrapped Trees (Project for Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris)
Christo
380 Wrapped Trees (Project for Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris)
Collage 1969
28 3/8 x 44" (72 x 112 cm)
Pencil, polyethylene, twine, wax crayon, charcoal, photographs, map and tape
Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, en dépôt au Musée d’Art Moderne, Nice, France
Photo: Muriel Aussens
© 1969 Christo