The US artist Jeff Koons has unveiled plans for a commemorative sculpture in Paris modelled on the Statue of Liberty, honouring the victims of the terrorist attacks in the city in November last year when Islamic extremists killed 130 people.
The 11-metre high bronze and stainless steel work, featuring a hand holding a bunch of flowers (Bouquet of Tulips), is due to be installed on the Place de Tokyo outside the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Palais de Tokyo next year.
Koons says that Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to France and Monaco, proposed the project. In a statement, the artist says: “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 piece is also inspired by Picasso’s 1958 lithograph Bouquet of Peace, Koons adds.
Noirmontartproduction, the exhibitions and fabrication company founded by the former dealer Jérôme de Noirmont, is responsible for producing the work. The non-profit foundation, Fonds de Paris, has launched a fundraising campaign for the piece which will reportedly cost $3.2m (a spokesman for Noirmontartproduction declined to comment).
“The capital of France will be happy to welcome the iconic work Bouquet of Tulips, which is intended to become part of Paris’s heritage, as the Statue of Liberty is part of New York’s heritage,” says Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris.