PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York (acquired from the above)
Acquired from the above in 2000
Mario Naves, “Troika of the Biomorphic Blob: Calder, Noguchi, Arp, Naturally,” The New York Observer, March 20, 2000, illustrated p. 20
La très grande dame is a plaster and papier maché model for a bronze that the artist conceived in 1960. With its smooth and unblemished surface, this form appears to be carved out of marble, and the unexpectedness of its true medium is a fundamental aspect of this beautiful Surrealist sculpture. The same year this sculpture was created, Michel Seuphor expounded on the spiritual appeal of Arp's forms, of which the present work 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), Galerie Chalette, New York, 1960, p. 14).
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