In the garden of the Petit Palais, one may come across a surreal polychrome sculpture of a massive hand clutching stylized flowers, resembling a bunch of colorful earpods with deflated marshmallows at the end. Or perhaps the Statue of Liberty’s torch might come to mind, which the sculpture actually modeled itself after.
Installed in October 2019, Bouquet of Tulips is a sculptural work by American artist Jeff Koons, known for his kitschy golden statue of Michael Jackson with his pet chimpanzee Bubbles. The Bouquet was created at the request of the U.S. Ambassador to France to honor the 130 victims of the November 2015 attacks. It features 11 flowers, not a dozen, and the missing 12th tulip is intended to represent the victims. Eighty percent of the proceeds it makes via copyright royalties go to the victims’ families.
Originally meant to be installed in front of the Palais de Tokyo, the sculpture initially had some difficulty finding a place to settle in, after several oppositions caused the plan to be dropped. Parc de la Villette and the Place des États-Unis were also considered, but it did not come to fruition. In the end, it was placed in the garden of the Petit Palais, near the Embassy of the United States—perhaps the most fitting location, after all.