jean arp

(Strasbourg, France 1887 – Basel, Switzerland 1966). Sculptor, painter, and poet, he studied in Weimar and Paris, was part of the Blue Rider group, then experimented with cubism, but soon began to evolve his personal whimsical style of abstract compositions through an organic, sensuous morphology and to experiment with automatic composition. After his success in the dada and surrealist avant-gardes in the 1920s, in 1931 he founded the group Abstraction-Création, and the characteristic organic forms of his polychrome relief carvings in wood and cut-paper composition became more severe and geometrical. At a time when he began to turn towards full three-dimensional sculptures, Arp insisted that his sculpture was “concrete” rather than “abstract,” since it occupied space, and that art was a natural generation of form. Arp always brought the material of his abstract biomorphic sculptures, stone or bronze, to a high degree of finish, meant to be tactilely experienced by the viewer. In 1954 he won the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale and was given important retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1958 and at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris in 1962.

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