Lot 12
  • 12

Jean Arp

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Jean Arp
  • Fleur dansante
  • inscribed with the artist's monogram, numbered 3/3 and with the foundry mark Susse Fondr Paris
  • bronze 
  • Height: 45 1/2 in.
  • 115.5 cm


Wilfred P. Cohen, New York (acquired by 1992)
Galerie Denise René, Paris
The Pace Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above on September 30, 1993


Giuseppe Marchiori, Arp, Milan, 1964, p. 66, no. 112, illustration of another cast 
Eduard Trier, Jean Arp, Sculpture, His Last Ten Years, New York, 1968, n.p., no. 153, pl. 3, illustration of another cast
Arie Hartog & Kai Fischer, Hans Arp. Sculptures – A Critical Survey, Ostfildern, 2012, pp. 127 & 305, no. 153, illustration of another cast 

Catalogue Note

Dating from 1957, Fleur dansante is a beautiful example of Arp’s mature sculpture, displaying a formal purity and a high level of abstraction that characterize his most accomplished works. Its elegant, elongated form is subtly reminiscent of a human figure, while its simplicity and smooth, polished surface transcend a human form, metamorphosing into the flower referred to in the title. This abstract, transcendental quality characteristic of Arp’s late sculpture bears strong stylistic, technical and poetic affinities with the work of Constantin Brancusi. As Stephanie Poley observed: “Arp was concerned with purity, with being free, being independent of everything unpleasant and limiting, and with the active, constant emission of positive energy as well as its perception.” (S. Poley in Exh. cat., Minneapolis, Minneapolis Museum of Art, Arp, 1987, p. 229)

Guided by chance and intuition, the artist created organic, irregular shapes evocative of natural forms and parts of human anatomy. Although he developed a highly abstract pictorial vocabulary, 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 the world around us. Arp enjoyed seeing his sculptures in natural settings as seen by his large bronzes and carvings placed in the garden outside his studio, where they could merge into the landscape and become one with nature. A cast of Fleur dansante, alongside a number of other sculptures, graced the garden of the artist’s villa at Meudon, at the outskirts of Paris. The legendary art historian and museum director Alfred Barr once described Jean Arp as a “one-man laboratory for the discovery of new form.” (quoted in J. T. Soby, Exh. cat., New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Arp, 1958, p. 7) The present work is indeed an extraordinary example of the artist's ability to take inspiration from natural forms around him, while always managing to transcend the realm of the tangible. The wonderfully organic and sensual quality of this sculpture is further enhanced by its title, which gives it a tender, romantic, as well as a playful note. The artist is inviting the viewer to join him in looking and marveling with fresh eyes at the forms that surround us: objects that when presented in an unfamiliar context or scale, look more like forms from the landscape of our subconscious. The viewer cannot help but be seduced by the sculpture’s undulating lines and admire the subtle yet voluptuous curves and shadowy crevices.

The plaster of Fleur dansante is at the Stiftung Hans Arp und Sophie Taeuber-Art in Remagen, Germany, and another bronze cast is at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.