Christo Javacheff and Jeanne Claude Guillebon

The flame-haired artist Jeanne-Claude – or Mrs Christo, as she sometimes called herself – worked with her husband to mummify the Pont Neuf, to envelop a string of Miami islands in flamingo-pink nylon, to bind the German Reichstag building in aluminium fabric and to erect 7,503 billowing, saffron “gates” in Central Park, New York. She has died aged 74, from complications of a brain aneurism suffered after a fall.

Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon was born in Casablanca, Morocco, where her father, a French general, was stationed at the time. She was born on exactly the same day as her husband and collaborator, Christo Javacheff. “Both of us at the same hour,” Jeanne-Claude liked to say, “but, thank God, two different mothers.” She often acted as spokesperson for the pair, explaining that as “twins”, they had an almost symbiotic relationship and spoke in one voice (usually hers). “Sometimes we would both have the same idea at the same time,” she marvelled, “You know how people who live with a dog start looking like their dogs?”


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