Jean (Hans) Arp Day Sale Lot 1211
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
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Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)

Figure-germe dite l'après-midinette

Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Figure-germe dite l'après-midinette
with raised monogram and numbered 'III/V' (on the underside)
polished bronze
Height: 31 ¾ in. (80.6 cm.)
Conceived in 1959; this bronze version cast in November 1962
Edouard Loeb, Paris.
Galerie Chalette (Madeleine Lejwa), New York.
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 19 May 1978, lot 405.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
E. Trier, intro., Jean Arp, Sculpture, His Last Ten Years, New York, 1968, p. 109, no. 187 (another cast illustrated, pl. 22).
I. Jianou, Jean Arp, Paris, 1973, p. 76, no. 187.
A. Hartog and K. Fischer, Hans Arp, A Critical Survey, Ostfildern, 2012, p. 318, no. 187 (another cast illustrated).

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" (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 includes 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" (Collected French Writings, London, 1972, p. 341).
Conceived in 1959, Figure-germe dite l'après-midinette is a proudly organic form, with its soft, wavering silhouette suggestive of transformation and growth. Its 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 (J. Brzekowski, "Les Quatres Noms," Cahiers d'Art, no. 9, 1934, p. 197, quoted in Arp, 1886-1966, exh. cat., Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 1986, 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.

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