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One year ago: Jeanne-Claude

November 18, 2010 |  6:00 am


Jeanne-Claude was a flame-red-haired artist whose works of art with her husband Christo garnered worldwide attention in the 1960s and '70s for their massive size and scope. Jeanne-Claude, who like her husband only used a first name, died one year ago at age 74.

Among their epic installations was "Running Fence," installed in 1976, which consisted of 2,050 white fabric panels extending across 24 1/2 miles in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Another was "The Umbrellas," a bi-continental project made up of 1,760 gigantic, custom-made yellow umbrellas along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass and 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki, Japan.

The husband-and-wife team preferred temporary installations that were taken down after a couple of weeks. Like a rainbow, Jeanne-Claude once reasoned, a beautiful thing becomes just normal if it's there all the time.

For decades, Jeanne-Claude did not actually receive credit for her contributions to the art. It wasn't until the 1990s that the couple began putting both their names on their work. Still, she frequently made clear in interviews that she was not an artist when they first met.

"I became an artist out of love for Christo," she said. "If he had been a dentist, then I would have become one too."

For more on the artistic couple, read Jeanne-Claude's obituary that appeared in The Times. Also, see a photo gallery of their work.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Jeanne-Claude and Christo speak in 2008 at a gallery displaying their "Over The River" project in Denver. Credit: Associated Press