Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Property from the Paul and Helen Zuckerman Collection
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)


Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
signed, numbered and inscribed with foundry mark 'ARP 2/3 E. GODARD Fondr Paris' (on the underside)
bronze with golden brown patina
Height: 47½ in. (120.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1955; this bronze version cast in 1968
Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel (October 1968).
The J.L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit.
Acquired from the above by the present owners, July 1969.
C. Giedion-Welcker, Jean Arp, Stuttgart, 1957, pp. 106 and 112, no. 138 (another cast illustrated, pp. 92-93).
S. Poley, Hans Arp, Die Formensprache im plastischen Werk, Stuttgart, 1978, pp. 30-32, 100 and 106 (another cast illustrated, p. 31).
A. Hartog, ed., Hans Arp, Skulpturen, Eine Bestandsaufnahme, Ostfildern, 2012, pp. 117-118, no. 138 (another cast illustrated, p. 117).

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David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

By 1930, some two years after he disengaged from the Surrealist camp, Arp found himself more and more preoccupied by the expanded volumes of sculpture in the round. Years later he recalled, "Suddenly my need for interpretation vanished, and the body, the form, the supremely perfected work became everything to me" (quoted in Arp, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1958, p. 14). It was from this point forward that he learned to transform the biomorphic shapes of his earlier reliefs into full-fledged sculptural forms. Finding a touchstone in the eternal process of nature, the sculpture of the second half of Arp's career plays infinite variations on this theme, instinctively recasting its elemental motifs--organic bodies, biological shapes--into integral new forms.

"The content of a sculpture," wrote Arp in 1955, "has to come forward on tiptoe, unpretentious and as light as the spoor of an animal in the snow. Art has to melt into nature. It should even be confused with nature. But this should be attained not by imitation but by the opposite of naturalistic copying on canvas or stone. Art will thus rid itself more and more of selfishness, virtuosity, and foolishness" (J. Arp, Collected French Writings, London, 1972, p. 341).

Daphné, conceived by Arp in 1955, is a proudly organic form, with its soft, wavering silhouette suggestive of transformation and growth. Transformation, indeed, is at the heart of Daphné. The form is derived and adapted from an earlier Arp sculpture, Ptolémée I of 1953, while the title itself alludes to the mythical nymph Daphne who was metamorphosed into a laurel tree as she was pursued by Apollo. The flowing form of Daphné, however, is offset by the jagged geometry of the counterposed cubes of its socle.

The principles of metamorphosis and fertility had long inspired his creative process, whose organic quality Arp emphasized from the beginning. "Often some detail in one of my sculptures, a curve or a contrast that moves me, becomes the germ of a new work... 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 it is, and it is only then that I give it a name" (quoted in The Art of Jean Arp, New York, 1968, p. 87).

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