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Jean Arp
Cloud Shepherd, Jean Arp (1953), Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas
Born 16 September 1886(1886-09-16)
Strasbourg, France
Died 7 June 1966 (aged 79)
Basel, Switzerland
Nationality German-French
Field Sculpture, Painting
Training Académie Julian
Movement Abstraction-Création, Surrealism, Dada

Jean Arp / Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German-French sculptor, painter, poet and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper.

Arp was born in Strasbourg. The son of a French mother and a German father, he was born during the period following the Franco-Prussian War when the area was known as Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen in German) after it had been returned to Germany by France. Following the return of Alsace to France at the end of World War I, French law determined that his name become Jean.

In 1904, after leaving the École des Arts et Métiers in Strasbourg, he went to Paris where he published his poetry for the first time. From 1905 to 1907, Arp studied at the Kunstschule, Weimar, Germany and in 1908 went back to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian. In 1915, he moved to Switzerland, to take advantage of Swiss neutrality. Arp later told the story of how, when he was notified to report to the German consulate, he avoided being drafted into the army: he took the paperwork he had been given and, in the first blank, wrote the date. He then wrote the date in every other space as well, then drew a line beneath them and carefully added them up. He then took off all his clothes and went to hand in his paperwork. He was told to go home.

Arp was a founding member of the Dada movement in ZĂĽrich in 1916. In 1920, as Hans Arp, along with Max Ernst, and the social activist Alfred GrĂĽnwald, he set up the Cologne Dada group. However, in 1925 his work also appeared in the first exhibition of the surrealist group at the Galerie Pierre in Paris.

In 1926, Arp moved to the Paris suburb of Meudon. In 1931, he broke with the Surrealism movement to found Abstraction-Création, working with the Paris-based group Abstraction-Création and the periodical, Transition.

Throughout the 1930s and until the end of his life, he wrote and published essays and poetry. In 1942, he fled from his home in Meudon to escape German occupation and lived in ZĂĽrich until the war ended.

Arp visited New York City in 1949 for a solo exhibition at the Buchholz Gallery. In 1950, he was invited to execute a relief for the Harvard University Graduate Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts would also be commissioned to do a mural at the UNESCO building in Paris. In 1954, Arp won the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale.

In 1958, a retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, followed by an exhibition at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France, in 1962.

The Musée d'art moderne et contemporain of Strasbourg houses many of his paintings and sculptures.

Arp's first wife, the artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, died in ZĂĽrich in 1943, and he subsequently married the collector Marguerite Hagenbach. Arp died in 1966, in Basel, Switzerland.

(When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as "Hans", and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as "Jean". Many people believe that he was born Hans and later changed his name to Jean, but this is not the case.)

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Art is a fruit that grows in man.

Jean Arp / Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German/French sculptor, painter, poet and a founding member of Dadaism. Later he engaged himself with the French surrealists and lived in Paris. (When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as "Hans", and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as "Jean".)

Sourced

  • Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 World War, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts. While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might. We were seeking an art based on fundamentals, to cure the madness of the age, and find a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell. We had a dim premonition that power-mad gangsters would one day use art itself as a way of deadening men's minds.
    • Dadaland (1948)[1938?]
  • Structures of lines, surfaces, forms, colours. They try to approach the eternal, the inexpressible above men. They are a denial of human egotism. They are the hatred of human immodesty, the hatred of images, of paintings... Wisdom (is) the feeling for the coming reality, the ystical, the definite indefinite, the greatest definite.
    • text by Hans Arp himself in a catalogue of his own exhibition, ZĂĽrich 1915
  • We painted embroidered and made collages. All these works were drawn from the simplest forms and were probably the first examples of concrete art. These works are realities pure and independent with no meaning or cerebral intention. We rejected all mimesis and description, giving free reign to the elementary and spontaneous. (circa 1916, on his cooperation with his future wife Sophie Täuber)
    • Anna Moszynska, Abstract Art, Thames and Hudson, London, 1990, p.65
  • Dada aimed to destroy the reasonable deceptions of man and recover the natural and unreasonable order.
    • Anna Moszynska, Abstract Art, Thames and Hudson, London, 1990, p. 66
  • A deep and serene silence filled her structures composed of colors and surfaces. The exclusive use of horizontal and vertical rectangular planes in the work of art, the extreme simplification, exerted a decisive influence on my work. Here I found, stripped down to the limit, the essential elements of all earthly constructions: the bursting, upward surge of the lines and the planes toward the sky, the verticality of pure life, and the vast equilibrum, the sheer horizontality and expansiveness of dreamlike peace. Her work was for me a symbol of a divinely built 'house' which man in his vanity has ravaged and sullied.(on the art of Sophie Täuber, whom he later married)
    • Michel Seuphor, Abstract Painting, Dell Publishing Co., 1964, p. 58
  • A painting or sculpture not modelled on any real object is every bit as concrete and sensuous as a leaf or a stone... (but) it is an incomplete art which privileges the intellect to the detriment of the senses... (art must be like) fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant or a child in it’s mother’s womb. (circa 1930)
    • Anna Moszynska, Abstract Art, Thames and Hudson, London, 1990, p. 113

Unsourced

  • Art is a fruit that grows in man.
  • The cynicism of Dadists is a mask.
  • Dada is for dreams,colourful paper masks, kettle drums, sound poems, concretions, poem statiques, for things that are not far from picking flowers and making bouquets.
  • Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.

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