We thank the Fondation Arp, Clamart, for their help cataloguing this work.
By 1930, Arp found himself increasingly 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 includes infinite variations on this theme, instinctively recasting its elemental motifs into integral new forms as can be seen in Figure sans nom.
“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" (quoted in Collected French Writings, London, 1972, p. 341).