A transitional figure in 20th-century art, Jean Arp approached sculpture with an eye toward organic abstraction. As one of the founders of Dada and later a participant in Surrealism, his sculptures showcase myriad influences.
Arp’s sculptures are non-representational yet allude to natural forms. His curves recall plants and human anatomy whilst retaining the power to evoke images of eruption and birth. Themes of transformation, growth, and decay dominate his work.
Resisting easy definition, Arp’s sculptures uphold a delicate balance between modernity and more primordial forces.
As noted by art historian Carola Giedion-Welcker:
“We detect in Arp the profound experience of life, which conceives of creation as an eternal process, as permanent transformation and growth... This is why Arp's initial forms strike us as being so ready to be transmuted, so filled with inner organic tension."