1886 - 1966
"Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother's womb." - 1948
Jean Arp, also referred to as Hans Arp, was a sculptor, painter, graphic artist, writer, and poet. His belief that chance is an important element of art practice and his conviction that everything made by man is art revolutionized the definition of art and artist.
From an early age Arp loved nature and drawing, though he turned to writing poetry after he tired of "the everlasting copying of stuffed birds and withered flowers." which was taught at the Strasbourg School of Applied art. From 1904 - 1907 he attended the Weimar Art School. Later he travelled to Pairs to take classes at the Académie Julian. It was during this time that he became friends with Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Robert Delaunay.
In 1915 he moved to Zurich where he exhibited his collages and tapestries. While he would later begin work on series of painted wood reliefs, it was his decision in 1930, to work on sculpture in the round which caused the greatest shift in his practice. The marble sculpture Cyprian Sculpture is an example of his work in the round. He did not view his artworks as abstract rather he saw them as "concrete art" in that they were not abstractions of real objects, but that they themselves were real items.
Arp was a keen collaborator and throughout his career involved himself with various artistic groups including the Dadaists (which he co-founded), Cercle et Carré, and Abstraction-Création among others.
This versatile artist continued to vary artistic mediums dependent on his inspiration, from paper, to wood, to marble, plaster and bronze. The only constant in his career was his writing be it poetry, prose or essays. His career was distinguished with many awards including the 1963 Grand Prix National des Arts, the 1964 Carnegie Prize, the 1965 Goethe Prize from the University of Hamburg and then the Order of Merit with a Star of the German Republic.
Born in Strasbourg, Germany, 16 September 1886
Died in Locarno, Switzerland, 07 June 1966
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