Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
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PROPERTY FROM THE FOUNDATION MIREILLE AND JAMES LÉVYLike many successful collections, the paintings and sculptures acquired by Mireille and James Lévy defy strict categorization. Connoisseurs in the true sense of the word, the couple sought out objects with which they formed a very personal connection, displaying them with finesse and pride in their exquisite homes in Lausanne, Switzerland, New York City and Longboat Key, Florida. Undeterred by academic classifications, their premise was of “collecting pioneers of style and time. It goes without saying that we must find the works aesthetically pleasing,” the couple told Architectural Digest in March 1987, “but what most interests us is that these artists are witnesses to their time.”Arguably, the artist who most accurately captured the times in which he lived was Andy Warhol. Over three decades during the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, Warhol became the ‘Chronicler-in-Chief’ of the American cultural zeitgeist. From Coke bottles and soup cans, and from celebrities to advertisements, Warhol took inspiration from the everyday and turned it into high art; his disco-hued portraits of Marilyn Monroe being particularly fine examples of his unique blend of cultural high-living. In addition to the Pop hedonism of Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, the collection also contains several notable examples of the more conceptual concerns that were occupying many artists of the period. Centrifugal, a classic Burst painting by Adolph Gottlieb, sits alongside Number 20, Morris Louis’s towering painting of colorful striations, with both works speaking to the formal investigations into the fundamental nature of painting that engaged many artists during the period. This juxtaposition between the formal and expressive, and between color and form, is what breathes life into the Lévys’ collection. While building this extraordinary grouping, which includes works by Henry Moore, Jean (Hans) Arp and Barbara Hepworth, the couple also had a desire to share their love of art with a wider audience. They donated works both to major international museums and lesser known European institutions; from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, the Lévys’ generosity was transformational to many of these institutional collections. Now their largesse continues, as the proceeds from the sale of these works will continue their legacy of extraordinary philanthropy. Many institutions in the United States, Switzerland and Israel, including hospitals, medical research centers, museums and resettlement agencies for Jewish refugees have received donations during the Lévys’ lifetime, and will continue to do so now, through the Foundation Mireille and James Lévy, the primary beneficiary of their joint estate.
Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)

Thalès de Milet

Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966)
Thalès de Milet
signed with monogram, numbered and inscribed with foundry mark '3/5 Susse Fondr Paris' (on the underside)
polished bronze
Height: 41 in. (104.2 cm.)
Conceived in 1951; this bronze version cast in December 1961
Galerie Denise René, Paris.
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 19 October 1977, lot 57.
Private collection, New York; sale, Christie's, New York, 14 November 1984, lot 615.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
C. Giedion-Welcker, Hans Arp, Stuttgart, 1957, p. 114, no. 116 (granite version listed).
I. Jianou, Jean Arp, Paris, 1973, p. 72, no. 116.
S. Poley, Hans Arp: Die Formensprache im plastischen Werk, Stuttgart, 1978, pp. 46 and 217, no. 56 (granite version illustrated, p. 46).
S. Fauchereau, Arp, New York, 1988, p. 29 (another cast illustrated in situ).
A. Hartog and K. Fischer, eds., Hans Arp: Sculptures, A Critical Survey, Ostfildern, 2012, pp. 285-286, no. 116 (another cast illustrated, p. 285).

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We thank the Fondation Arp, Clamart, for their help cataloguing this work.

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