Lot 1
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Jean Arp

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
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  • Jean Arp
  • Entité ailée
  • Inscribed with the foundry mark Georges Rudier Fondeur Paris (on the base)
  • Bronze
  • Height: 50 3/8 in.
  • 128 cm


Robert Morel, Forcalquier 

Sale: Maître Binoche, Drouot-Montaigne, Paris, April 29, 1994, lot 19

PaceWildenstein, New York

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, Paris, July 3, 2008, lot 41)

Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Toyama, Museum of Modern Art; Yamanashi, Prefectural Museum of Art; Yokohama, City Gallery; Saitama, Museum of Modern Art; Miyagi Museum of Art & Mie, Prefectural Art Museum, Arp: 100th Anniversary of His Birthday, 1985, no. 54, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, PaceWildenstein, Early forms: The Biomorphic Sculpture of Arp, Calder and Noguchi, 2000, illustrated in the catalogue


Exhibition of Sculpture by Jean Arp in Marble Bronze and Wood Relief from the years: 1923-63 (exhibition catalogue), Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 1963, no. 9, illustration of the black granite version

Edouard Trier, Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach & François Arp, Jean Arp, Sculptures 1957-1966, Teufen, 1968, no. 252a, illustration of another cast p. 117

Eduard Trier, Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach & François Arp, Jean Arp, Sculpture, His Last Ten Years, New York, 1968, no. 252a, illustration of another cast p. 117

Jean Arp, From the collections of Mme Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1972, no. 18, illustration of another cast

Ionel Jianou, Jean Arp, Paris, 1973, no. 252a, illustration of another cast pl. 29

Arp, 1886-1966 (exhibition catalogue), Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 1986, no. 521, illustration of the plaster version p. 234

Erica Kessler, Sammlung Marguerite Arp: Werke aus der Fondazione Marguerite Arp (exhibition catalogue), Lugano, 1991, no. 20, illustration of another cast p. 44

Enrico Crispolti & Luigi Cavadini, Aliventi, Arp, Viani: L'immaginario organico (exhibition catalogue), Florence, 1992, no. 25, illustration of another cast p. 56

Jean Arp, L'invention de la forme (exhibition catalogue), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2004, illustration of another cast p. 126

Chaude Weil-Seigeot, Atelier Jean Arp et Sophie Taeuber, Paris, 2012, illustration of another cast p. 198

Arie Hartog & Kai Fischer, Jean Arp, Sculptures, A Critical Survey, Bonn, 2012, no. 252a, illustration of another cast p. 351 and catalogued p. 352


Please contact the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at (212) 606-7360 for the condition report for this lot.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Entité ailée is representative of the artist's meditation on forms and their relationship with space and the world, at both a micro and macro level. Though an autonomous entity, the sculpture nevertheless maintains a dialogue with nature.  Arp strove to preserve and cultivate a harmonious and advantageous balance between primordial and artistic creation. Entité ailée is a form which, with its convex and concave curves and smooth, taught surfaces, seemingly concentrates its energy into a pure and fluid rhythm.

Arp conceived this work in marble in 1961, one year before his important retrospective of his work in Paris and New York.  In a 1965 photograph, the artist poses in his garden with his arm around the sculpture beneath the shade of a tree. Here, as in the sculpture itself, there is an unmistakable suggestion of metamorphosis: "Arp's assimilation of the process of creation in nature with that of art finds a tangible dimension in his sculptures [...]. Stemming from simple, primordial forms - most frequently that of an embryo, a simple head, a navel, a bud, or even an amoeba – Arp's sculptures deploy their powers of spatial expression precisely through these organic and rounded masses which swell and bulge with a life of their own and whose expansive movements suggest the existence of an imaginary energy centre at the heart of the works themselves. Indeed, there is a sense of permanent flux, as though currents and forces loom up to the surface only to be solidified there" (in Jean Arp, L'invention de la forme, Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 2004, p. 52).

The present work is equally concerned with the historical and mythological aspects of metamorphosis. His quest for the ideal form lead Arp to an appreciation of the earliest civilizations in Antiquity; of their art and myths which were very much the vehicle for the idea of metamorphosis. At a time when he was to entitle his works Amphore des étoiles, Souvenir du pays d'Héraclès, Femme amphore, Daphné, Les trois grâces, Figure mythique, Ptolémée, Torse de Chorée..., Arp bestowed his Entité ailée with the globular forms of Cyclades, as well as the power and the fervour of a Victoire de Samothrace. He observed that, "From Impressionism onwards, art has turned irrevocably towards the disintegration of the human figure. A reaction was inevitable. For me, it is not about a return to a forgotten realism, though I have a strong need to create, and to create more than just the 'human concretions' of days gone by, but rather a mythical sculpture which takes the form of a head or a torso. Is mythical the right word? Indeed, we are talking about divinity, but it is more of a human divinity, as the sages and poets have always upheld. Hesiod, for example, who positions man at the centre of the universe. This is my sculpture today" (In Arp, ibid., p. 24).

According Arie Hartog and Kai Fischer's critical survey of Arp's sculpture, the present bronze was cast by the Georges Rudier Foundry in 1977 and is recorded in Greta Ströh's archive as either 00/3 or 000/3.