BOUQUET OF TULIPS
Bouquet of Tulips, 2016.
Polychromed bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum.
height: 34 ft 1 1/2 in – 10,40 m / 41 ft 4 7/8 in – 12,62 m with base.
width: 27 ft 4 3/4 in – 8,35 m
depth: 32 ft 3 1/8 in – 9,83 m / 33 ft 11 7/8 in – 10,36 m with base.
Approximate weight / sculpture only: 59 524 lb - 27 t
U.S. Artist Jeff Koons offers Bouquet of Tulips to the City of Paris and the People of France as a Symbol of Friendship.
130 years after France gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States, Jeff Koons wanted to celebrate the remarkable Franco-American alliance that has endured and flourished for over 200 years, by creating Bouquet of Tulips.
The idea of offering such a symbol of friendship between the French and the American people came about following discussions between Jeff Koons and The Honorable Jane D. Hartley, Ambassador of the United States of America to France and Monaco from May 2014 until January 2017.
"Bouquet of Tulips" symbolizes the act of offering.
Jeff Koons explains: “Bouquet of Tulips was created as a symbol of remembrance, optimism, and healing in moving forward from the horrific events that occurred in Paris one year ago. Bouquet of Tulips references the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding the torch. I wanted to make a gesture of friendship between the people of the United States and France. The work also has a dialogue with Pablo Picasso’s Friendship Bouquet and his sculpture Woman with Vase in the act of offering. You can also look at the sculpture and think of the Impressionist flowers of Monet or the Rococo flowers of François Boucher or Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Flowers are associated universally with optimism, rebirth, the vitality of nature, and the cycle of life. They are a symbol that life goes forward.”
For Ambassador Hartley, this donation reminds us that “our two countries share so much politically, economically, and culturally – but most importantly, France and the United States share a deeply held belief in the universal principles of Freedom and Liberty. Throughout history, when one of us has faced challenges, the other has been there in solidarity and support. Art is a powerful tool that brings people of all ages, colors, creeds, circumstances, and backgrounds together. It is a source of inspiration and hope for the future.”
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, said: “The fact that this great artist has decided to offer to the City of Paris the original idea of a monumental work that symbolizes generosity and sharing shows the unalterable attachment between our capital city and the United States of America. The capital of France will be happy to welcome the iconic work Bouquet of Tulips, which is intended to become part of Paris heritage, as the Statue of Liberty is part of the New York’s heritage. It will participate in the influence of our city throughout the world and proves once again how attractive Paris is for contemporary art.”
The project was officially announced during a press conference in Paris on November 22, 2016, in the presence of Jane Hartley, Anne Hidalgo and Jeff Koons.
As the installation site needs to be relevant to the symbolism of the artwork, it was then proposed to the artist to install the work on Place de Tokyo, next to the avenue du Président Wilson. This site, located at the entrance of the Museum of Modern art of the City of Paris and of the Palais de Tokyo, is naturally associated to cultural and human values, as to both the municipal and national aspect of the donation. This place is also at the heart of an area emblematic of the American generosity towards France.
The sites close to the attacks had not been retained ever since the beginning of the project, out of respect for the victims' families who wish to install their memorials there.
As French cultural personalities opposed the choice of this site during autumn 2017, the installation location was then the subject of discussions during several months between the City of Paris, the Ministry of Culture and the artist. An agreement was finally reached on October 10, 2018, and the work will be installed in 2019 in the gardens of the Champs-Elysées at the back of the Petit Palais.
As historically any donation of monumental artwork, the financing of this project is entirely covered by Franco-American private funds, such as the Statue of Liberty, for which Bartholdi offered the design, the sculpture being paid for by French public subscriptions and the base by American public subscriptions, at a cost almost equivalent to that of the sculpture. Limited to the costs of manufacturing and installation of the artwork, the financing of the Bouquet of Tulips was found by Noirmontartproduction in coordination with the Fonds pour Paris, from donors wishing to demonstrate on this occasion their attachment to the bonds of friendship and the values of freedom that unite the American and French peoples.