'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 M. Jean (ed.), Jean (Hans) Arp, Collected French Writings, London, 1972, p. 341).
Daphné I, 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 I. The form is derived and adpapted 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 I, however, is offset by the jagged geometry of the counterposed cubes of its socle.