ARP, Jean/Hans

Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin 1887 - Basel, Switzerland 1966

Concrétion humaine

Human Concretion



free-standing abstract

Dimensions (HxWxD): 13 14 x 16 x 15 12 in.

Acc. No.: 71.3208

Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

Photo credit: Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk


  • 1971, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.


  • Museum's website, 3 April 2015


  • Museum's website, Object Label, 3 April 2015:
    The sculpture Arp withstood years of conventional artistic study to forge a novel and highly personal styles of organic abstraction. Numbed by the "everlasting copying of stuffed birds and withered flowers" that his teachers prescribed, he sought refuge first in poetry and then in nature itself, finding artistic inspiration "in the example of seeds, stars, clouds, plants, animals, men." He invested these natural forms with a primitive magic as he reduced them to their primal shapes. Both the Dadaists, whom Arp joined during World War I, and the Surrealists, were drawn to his work. Arp restricted himself initially to wood reliefs, string compositions, and torn-paper constructions. In the early 1930s, however, he began to produce more ambitious bronze and stone sculptures in the round, among them Human Concretion. Arp defined the term "concretion" as "the natural process of condensation, coagulation, growing together...Concretion designated solidification, the mass of the stone, the plant, the animal, the man." With its smoothly lobed surfaces, the sculpture seems strangely animate, a living mass that evokes the fleshy essence of the human form.