Lot 38
  • 38

Jean Arp

bidding is closed


  • Jean Arp
  • marble
  • height (including artist's base): 143cm., 56 1/4 in.


Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist)
Herbert Singer, New York (acquired from the above on 2nd January 1962)
Thence by descent


New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Jean Arp, 1961


Eduard Trier, Jean Arp Sculptures 1957-1966, Stuttgart, 1968, no. 240, illustrated p. 54
Ionel Jianou, Jean Arp, Paris, 1973, no. 240, catalogued p. 78
Serge Fauchereau, Arp, London, 1989, fig. 62, illustration of another cast p. 61
Jean Arp. L'Invention de la forme (exhibition catalogue), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2004, illustrated in a photograph p. 15

Catalogue Note

A unique marble carving, Sculpture classique is a beautiful example of Arp's mature oeuvre. Its elegant, elongated form is subtly reminiscent of a human figure, while its surface is smoothly finished, giving the work a high level of abstraction. The medium of highly polished white marble suggests a sense of purity reminiscent of Brancusi's work, as well as alluding to the classical beauty referred to in the title.


Guided by chance and intuition, the artist often created organic, irregular shapes evocative of natural forms and parts of human anatomy. Although he developed a highly abstract visual vocabulary, in his sculptures Arp always established a connection between these biomorphic forms and elements of the natural world in such a way as to unveil the mysterious and poetic elements hidden in everyday forms. Arp always enjoyed seeing his sculptures in natural settings as seen by his large carvings placed in the garden outside his studio (fig. 1), where they could merge into the landscape and become one with nature.


Arp also executed a bronze variant of this work, cast in an edition of 3, as well as a larger marble, 196cm. high (E. Trier, op. cit., no. 240A).