Jeff Koons Gifts Monumental Statue to Paris in Memory of Attack Victims

The joyful statue will stand outside the Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo.

Jeff Koons Bouquet of Tulips (2016). © Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction. Illustration 3D de l’oeuvre in situ.
Rendering of Jeff Koons Bouquet of Tulips (2016). ©Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.

Jeff Koons will gift a Bouquet of Tulips statue to the City of Paris as an offering in memory of the victims of the recent terror attacks. The statue is slated to be installed on the Place de Tokyo, located outside the Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo, in 2017.

“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,” said Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo in a statement.

“It will participate in the influence of our city throughout the world and proves once again how attractive Paris is for contemporary art”

The monumental work, ten meters in height, shows a lifelike human hand raising a fistful of tulips aloft in a triumphant gesture of peace.

Funded by private donors from America and France, the work will cost $3.2 million according to AFP. At a press conference in Paris on Monday, November 21, announcing the commemorative gift—with the US Ambassador to France and Monaco, Jane D. Hartley—Koons likened the work to flowers painted by Monet and the plush Rococo flowers of François Boucher or Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

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…” Koons said. “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.”

Jeff Koons Bouquet of Tulips (2016). © Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.

Jeff Koons Bouquet of Tulips (2016). ©Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.

“Flowers are associated universally with optimism, rebirth, the vitality of nature, and the cycle of life. They are a symbol that life goes forward,” he added.

France has suffered a string of terror attacks in recent years, including the Paris attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, an attack on a Kosher supermarket, the terror attacks of November 13, 2015, in which 130 people were killed, as well as an attack in Nice on Bastille day this year.

“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,” Hartley said during the announcement. “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,” she added.

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