BOUQUET OF TULIPS
Bouquet of Tulips
2016 – 2019
Sculpture : polychromed bronze, stainless steel and aluminium
Base : stone (Lutetian limestone from the quarries of Ile-de-France)
Dimensions (including base) : Height 41’ 4 63/64”
Width 27’ 4 49/64”
Depth 34’ 31/64”
Weight / sculpture : 33,790 kg / base : 27,000 kg / total : 60,790 kg
Official press release.
On Friday October 4, 2019 was inaugurated Jeff Koons’s Bouquet of Tulips, the artwork offered to the City of Paris in support from the American people to the Parisians and French people bereaved by the attacks of 2015 - 2016, on the initiative of Jane Hartley, Ambassador of the United States of America to the French Republic and Principality of Monaco from 2014 to 2017.
Particularly moved by the numerous displays of support and friendship expressed by American citizens towards Parisians and the French people following the terrible attacks perpetrated in 2015 and 2016, Jane Hartley called upon Jeff Koons to offer to Paris an emblematic artwork, and to reaffirm as such the links that unite our two peoples around their shared attachment to the principle of Liberty. Recognized as one of the greatest artists of our time, a great lover of Paris and France, whose work is steeped in references to French art history, Jeff Koons embodies Americans’ historic attachment to French culture.
It was with great enthusiasm that Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, accepted this gift of exceptional importance, aware of the enrichment of Parisian and French heritage which it represents: The fact that this great artist has decided to offer to the City of Paris a monumental work in tribute to the victims shows the unalterable friendship and attachment between our capital city and the United States of America.
The donation was officially announced on November 22, 2016, during a press conference in Paris in the presence of Jane Hartley, Anne Hidalgo and Jeff Koons.
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. These past two years, in the wake of such terrible attacks in France – attacks aimed directly at those shared values – this relationship has become even stronger, and it is something worth celebrating. The arts are a powerful tool that remind us of our commonalities and bring people of all ages, colors, creeds, circumstances and backgrounds together, had then stated Jane Hartley.
"Bouquet of Tulips" symbolizes the act of offering.
Imagined by the artist as a symbol of remembrance, optimism and healing, Bouquet of Tulips is a monumental and unique sculpture, created by Jeff Koons for this donation to the City of Paris.
Symbolizing the act of offering, represented by the outstretched hand holding a bouquet of brightly-colored flowers, Bouquet of Tulips evokes the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding the torch, while it also has a dialogue with Pablo Picasso’s Friendship Bouquet. Flowers are associated here as well as universally with optimism, rebirth, the vitality of nature, and the cycle of life. They are a symbol that life goes forward, explained Jeff Koons in November 2016.
The work has a very realistic appearance, both the hand and the balloon tulips. The work evokes support and friendship in the realization of the terrible loss from the terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 but also symbolizes the offering of friendship and support between France and the United States. To convey the loss that occurred to the victims and their families, the bouquet is comprised of only eleven flowers. The missing twelfth will always represent the loss that occurred from the attacks.
Bouquet of Tulips has been permanently installed in the gardens of the Champs-Elysées, between the Petit Palais and the place de la Concorde, at the heart of an unexpectedly peaceful green space in this historic and popular area, frequented by numerous Parisians, French people and foreign tourists.
This location was agreed on October 11, 2018 thanks to the mediation of Christophe Girard, First Deputy to the Mayor of Paris in charge of Culture, after consulting with the Ministry of Culture and the artist, then definitively accepted by a favorable judgment from the Sites Commission on March 21, 2019 and issuance of the development permit on May 29, 2019.
The choice of this location close to the American Embassy, in the triangle bordered by the avenue Dutuit, the avenue Edward Tuck and the cours La Reine, which is presently being renovated as part of the redevelopment and enhancement of the gardens of the Champs-Elysées, was very favorably received by the Comité des Champs-Elysées.
In direct line with historic donations of monumental artworks, the financing of the fabrication and installation of Bouquet of Tulips has been entirely covered by private funds, in this case American and French in conjunction with the context of this donation.
Much like the Statue of Liberty, of which the sculpture was financed by French donors and the base by American donors for an almost equal budget, the budget of Bouquet of Tulips, initially fixed at 3.5 million euros, was the subject of a call for donations coordinated by Noirmontartproduction in collaboration with Le Fonds pour Paris / The Paris Foundation (the City of Paris’ foundation), these two entities graciously providing their cooperation to the project.
The funds were raised from French and American donors, all of whom are very attached to the links of friendship and solidarity that unite our two peoples and are keen to sustain them.
The fabrication and installation costs being ultimately higher than the amount initially set, the artist has decided to bear alone the additional costs borne out of developments to the project.
In order to inscribe this donation into a spirit of complete generosity, Jeff Koons has wished since the start of the project to give all of his future earnings in royalties from this artwork to the associations of victims’ families.
Under an agreement signed between the City of Paris and Jeff Koons, which confirmed his lasting commitment, 80% of the revenue generated from the visual exploitation of the artwork will as such be allocated to these associations, which expressed their gratitude, and 20% to the City of Paris for the maintenance of the work.
Less than four years after the project’s launch by Jane Hartley in January 2016, it is this wonderful lasting link of friendship, solidarity, strength and unity between the American and French people which was celebrated by the inauguration of Bouquet of Tulips !
The achievement of this donation has thus been made possible thanks to the principal support of:
Kenneth C. GRIFFIN
CANTOR FITZGERALD / AUREL BGC
FINANCIÈRE SAINT JAMES Michaël BENABOU
Jane HARTLEY & Ralph SCHLOSSTEIN
LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton
Chaille B. MADDOX & Jonathan A. KNEE
and the additional support of:
Debra & Leon BLACK
Leonard A. LAUDER
The Edward John and Patricia ROSENWALD FOUNDATION
AT THE ORIGIN...
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.
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.
A necessary clarification, January 29, 2018, updated on January 31, 2018.