Artist Jeanne-Claude, right, with her husband and artistic partner Christo in February 2005, when they opened their installation The Gates in New York's Central Park. ((Richard Drew/Associated Press))

Artist Jeanne-Claude, who created the 2005 Central Park installation The Gates and other large-scale "wrapping" projects around the globe with her husband Christo, has died. She was 74.

Jeanne-Claude died Wednesday night at a New York hospital of complications from a brain aneurysm, her family said in an e-mail statement.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he spoke with Christo on Thursday morning and offered condolences on behalf of all New Yorkers. 

The Gates festooned 37 kilometres of Central Park's footpaths with thousands of saffron drapes hung from specially designed frames.

More than five million people saw The Gates and it was credited with injecting $254 million US into the city's economy. 

Art will go on: Christo

Christo — the more famous of the duo — was saddened, the family statement said, but remains "committed to honour the promise they made to each other many years ago: that the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude would continue."

That includes completing their current installation, Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado and The Mastaba, a project in the United Arab Emirates.

The Colorado project involves spanning kilometres of the river with woven fabric. It is expected to be realized by summer 2013 at the earliest, according to the couple's office.

Their other projects included wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin, the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland, and a Roman wall in Italy.

A 1991 project involved thousands of yellow and blue umbrellas positioned across valleys in Japan and California.

Their projects required mammoth manpower and supplies of fabric and other materials. For the umbrella project, 1,880 workers were used. They recycled all materials following each project.

Financed art through sales

The couple said they never accepted any sponsorship and financed all their temporary installations through the projects themselves, including the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and original lithographs.

The two artists met in Paris in 1958, then collaborated for 51 years on temporary public art projects. They made their home in Manhattan, where they had lived for 45 years. 

Jeanne-Claude, who sported signature orange-dyed hair, once said that the couple, like parents who wouldn't favour one child over another, felt that "each project is a child of ours."

But she added that their favourite project was "the next one."

Plans for a memorial will be announced later. The family said her body will be donated to science, as was her wish.