Lot 54
  • 54

Jean Arp

400,000 - 600,000 USD
602,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jean Arp
  • Figure-germe dite l'après-midinette
  • Numbered II/V on the interior of the base

  • Bronze


Galerie Chalette, New York

Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner circa 1962


(possibly) New York, Galerie Chalette, Jean Arp & Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 1960, no. 34; this form is silhouetted on the cover and embossed in gold on the frontispiece


Eduard Trier, Jean Arp: Sculpture, His Last Ten Years, New York, 1968, no. 187 (as dating from 1959), illustration of another cast pl. 22

Catalogue Note

Arp's most successful sculptures are characterized by their unblemished surfaces and smooth curvilinear forms.  Since his involvement with Dada and Surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s and until the end of his life, the elegant beauty of Arp's sculpture was increasingly analyzed under the rubric of spirituality. Recognized throughout his career for his ability to transcend formal boundaries and create works of art that could be interpreted differently depending upon a given viewer's needs and expectations, Arp was labeled by one critic as "a well-rounded mystic" for his ability to appeal to a wide audience.  At the heart of Arp's success is the organic beauty of his sculptures, which seem to manifest from a vision unencumbered by any formal constraints.  The present work from the late 1950s embodies the transcendent physical beauty that came to be expected of the artist at the golden age of his career.

The family of the present owner is believed to have purchased this sculpture from the New York-based Galerie Chalette in the early 1960s.  Around that time, the gallery staged an exhibition of Arp's work, featuring the silhouette of Figure-germe dite l'après-midinette on the cover of the exhibition catalogue, as this sculpture was considered a crowning achievement of Arp's production.  In the catalogue for the exhibition, Michel Seuphor expounded on the spiritual appeal of Arp's forms, of which the present work , also known in English as Bud figure, is a defining example:  "[A] man of accomplished spirituality might see in each of Arp's sculptures a translation of the highest activities of the spirit, the very soul of the Prajna Paramita of the Hindus.  And is not a leaf as authentic an image of the supreme wisdom as the imaginary face of the Buddha?  What is a form if not the expression of a force that animates it, of a spirit that inhabits it?  To let this force, this spirit, speak freely is the aim that Arp undertakes to achieve without going beyond it.  Now it is especially difficult not to go beyond it (through the richness of the imagination, in particular), for this language must be as simple as the song of a bird, as calm as the beating of the heart, as humble as water" (M. Seuphor, Jean Arp & Sophie Taeuber-Arp (exhibition catalogue), op. cit. p. 14).