A case in point was a preparatory work from 1987 for The Umbrellas (Joint Project for Japan and USA), a scheme which was finally realised in 1991. It was Christo and Jeanne Claude’s only installation that spanned two continents: 1340 blue umbrellas were set up in Japan and 1760 yellow counterparts in California.
The artists enlisted the help of more than 1800 workers to prepare the installation, which was on show for just 18 days – after years of preparation.
The umbrellas were six metres high and eight and a half metres in diameter.
The two-part coloured drawing with map, which came up for sale at Koller (25/22% buyer’s premium) in Zürich on December 5, was correspondingly monumental, measuring 8ft x 15in (2.44m x 38cm) and 8ft x 3ft 6in (2.44 x 1.07m).
Since its inception, it has had only one careful owner, a Swiss collector, who consigned it to Koller.
Bidding started at the lower guide of SFr150,000, but international bidders pushed the price to a substantial SFr330,000 (£279,965).