Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)


Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
white marble
Length: 22¼ in. (56.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1960 and carved in 1960-1962; unique
Galerie Denise René, Paris.
Galerie du Perron, Geneva (1962).
James Wise, Geneva and New York.
New Art Center, New York.
Hilda S. Kook, New York.
Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, New York.
Akira Ikeda Gallery, Nagoya, Japan (acquired from the above, 1999).
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York (acquired from the above, 2002).
Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, March 2005.
E. Trier, Jean Arp Sculpture, His Last Ten Years, New York, 1968, p. 115, no. 232a (illustrated).
A. Hartog, ed., Hans Arp, Skulpturen-Eine Bestandsaufnahme, Ostfildern, 2012, p. 342, no. 232a (illustrated).
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Arp, February-April 1962, no. 101.
Geneva, Galerie du Perron, Hommage à Jean-Hans Arp, June-September 1962, no. 31.
New York, New Art Center Gallery, Jean Arp: Sculpture, Relief, Drawing, November 1962, no. 21.

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

Lot Essay

"Arp's sculptures slip into the white, the snow-white world... Their white beauty is sensual like Woman and so real that it is almost tangible" (J. Brzekowski, "Les Quatres Noms," in Cahiers d'Art, 9, 1934, p. 197, quoted in Arp, 1886-1966, exh. cat., Stuttgart, 1986, p. 148).

S'accroupissant's smoothly rounded and sensually undulating form is characteristic of Arp's approach to the human body, which he primarily explored through a language of organic abstraction. "With Arp, a new aspect of sculpture is born," remarked a critic of his earliest sculptures in the round that were conceived in the 1930s (quoted in ibid., p. 148). Arp arrived at the forms in his sculptures in a gradual manner, taking his inspiration from the shapes suggested to him by the natural world, as well as from his own body of existing work. As he explained:

"Often some detail in one of my sculptures, a curve or a contrast that moves me, become the germ of a new work. I accentuate the curve or the contrast and this leads to the birth of new forms... Sometimes it will take months, even years, to work out a new sculpture. I do not give up until enough of my life has flowed into its body. Each of these bodies has a definite significance, but it is only when I feel there is nothing more to change that I decide what this is, and it is only then that I give it a name" (J. Arp, quoted in H. Read, Arp, London, 1968, p. 87).

Conceived in marble, S'accroupissant has a clarity, simplicity and purity redolent of the sculptures of classical antiquity. Arp had been a frequent visitor to Greece, which is reflected in the forms and titles of a number of his sculptures from the late 1950s and early 1960s, not least the present work, which evokes the many classical sculptures of Venus and Aphrodite in a crouching position. It is a mark of Arp's ingenuity, however, that while recalling such classical precedents, the sculpture remains resolutely modern, its fluid biomorphism simultaneously suggesting both the female form and abstract amoeboid shapes.

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