In his later years, Jean Arp produced three-dimensional sculptures that he modeled in plaster and translated into stone and bronze. Plaster enabled Arp to experiments with new, unique forms, such as the amoeba-like shapes in Configuration in Serpentine Movements (1950). Referring to his biomorphic art as “l’art concret” (concrete art), Arp emphasized how this style evoked natural forms without imitation or specific definition, as if the sculpture had been created by natural forces rather than his own hand.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Jean Arp, also known as Hans Arp (September 16, 1886 – June 7, 1966) was a German-French sculptor, painter, poet and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper. When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as Hans, and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as Jean. Interesting!
Arp was a founding member of the Dada movement in Zürich in 1916. In 1920, as Hans Arp, along with Max Ernst, and the social activist Alfred Grünwald, he set up the Cologne Dada group. However, in 1925 his work also appeared in the first exhibition of the surrealist group at the Galérie Pierre in Paris. Through his investigation of biomorphism (as seen in Constellation with Five White and Two Black Forms: Variation 2, 1932, above) and of chance and accident, he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.
Constellation with Five White and Two Black Forms: Variation 2 by Jean (Hans) Arp is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. View it in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 12, 5th Floor.