Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Hans Arp
1886 - 1966
inscribed Arp, numbered 3/3 and stamped with the Coubertin foundry mark
height: 183.5cm., 72 1/4 in.
Conceived in 1965 and cast in an edition of 3. This work was cast in February 2006 by Coubertin.
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Arp Foundation, Clamart (sale: Christie's, New York, 9th May 2007, lot 74)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Jean Arp Retrospectiva 1915-1966, 2006, no. 76, illustrated in the catalogue
Venice, Museo Correr, Jean Arp & Sophie Taeuber. Dada e oltre, 2006, illustrated in the catalogue


Eduard Trier, François Arp, Marguerite Arp & Carola Giedion-Welcker, Jean Arp: Sculpture His Last Ten Years, Stuttgart, 1968, no. 343, illustration of the marble version p. 126
Jean Arp & Sophie Tauber Arp, Dada e oltre (exhibition catalogue), Museo Correr, Venice, 2006, illustration of another cast p. 185
Arie Hartog, Hans Arp, Sculptures - A Critical Survey, Ostfildern, 2012, no. 343, illustration of another cast p. 388

Catalogue Note

With its amorphous and asymmetrical shape, Colonne de muse is representative of Arp’s meditation on forms and their relationship with space and the world. Often guided by chance and intuition, he enjoyed creating organic, irregular shapes evocative of natural and anatomical forms. Although he developed a highly abstract visual vocabulary, in his sculptures Arp always sought to establish a connection between these biomorphic shapes and elements of the natural world in such a way as to unveil the mysterious and poetic elements hidden in everyday forms. As Max Ernst wrote: ‘Arp’s hypnotic language takes us back to a lost paradise, to cosmic secrets and teaches us to understand the language of the universe’ (Stefanie Poley, Arp, Minneapolis, 1987, p. 261).

The present work’s convex and concave curves and smooth, taught surface concentrate its energy into a pure and fluid rhythm. There is a tantalising 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 (exhibition catalogue), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2004, p. 52).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale