Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale


Jean Arp
signed with the monogram and numbered I/V on the inside
polished bronze
height: 64.5cm.
25 3/8 in.
Conceived in 1960 and cast in bronze in an edition of 5. This example was cast by Georges Rudier, Paris on 17th February 1962.
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Galerie Pierre (Pierre Loeb), Paris

Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1962. Sold: Sotheby’s, New York, 8th May 2008, lot 159)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Giuseppe Marchiori, Arp, Milan, 1964, fig. 30, another version illustrated

Herbert Read, Arp, London, 1968, no. 175, another cast illustrated p. 149

Eduard Trier, Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach & François Arp, Jean Arp, Sculptures 1957-1966, Stuttgart, 1968, no. 212, another cast illustrated p. 112

Ionel Jianou, Jean Arp, Paris, 1973, no. 212, edition catalogued p. 77

Arp (exhibition catalogue), The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, 1987, no. 252, the marble and bronze versions illustrated p. 235

Serge Fauchereau, Arp, Barcelona & Paris, 1988, fig. 63, the marble version illustrated p. 61

Arie Hartog (ed.), Hans Arp, Skulpturen, Ostfildern, 2012, no. 212, the marble version illustrated and the present cast listed p. 153

Catalogue Note

Déméter is a beautiful example of Arp’s mature sculpture, executed at the time when his work achieved a formal purity and a high level of abstraction. Although the highly polished form of the present work demonstrates the sleek modernist aesthetic that had been defined by Brancusi (fig. 1) and Laurens, its amorphous and irregular shape evidences some of the central themes of Arp's original manifesto. 'All things, and man as well, should be like nature, without measure,' he wrote as a young artist. 'I wanted to create new appearances, to extract new forms from man' (quoted in Serge Fauchereau, op. cit., p. 15).


Often guided by chance and intuition, Arp enjoyed creating 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. The artist always enjoyed seeing his sculptures in outdoor settings where they could enter into a dialogue with the natural world. This was nowhere more evident than in the garden outside his studio, where a marble version of Déméter served as a focal point.


In 1952 Arp travelled to Greece for the first time, and subsequently titled several of his works with names from Greek history and mythology, such as Ptolémée, Ganymède and Daphné. The title of the present work refers to Demeter, who was the goddess of harvest and agriculture, and as such a perfect symbol of fertility, as well as a figure that combined the notions of the human being and nature. The present work is indeed an extraordinary example of the artist's ability to take inspiration from natural forms around him and create an object that transcends the realm of the tangible and reaches the realm of the phantasmagorical.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale