Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin 1887 - Basel, Switzerland 1966
white marble on polished black marble base
Dimensions (HxWxD): overall: 31 1⁄4 x 14 1⁄2 x 13 3⁄8 in.
Acc. No.: SC 1956:13
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin (Georgia Talmey, class of 1928)
Photo credit: Collections Database, fivecolleges.edu
- 1956, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin (Georgia Talmey, class of 1928)
- Collections Database, Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium (accessed February 14, 2017)
- Museum's website (accessed February 17, 2017):
Jean Arp, one of the most vigorously original of twentieth-century European sculptors, was a founder of the Dada movement. Dedicated to wit and irony, Dada was an anti-art art movement that grew out of World War I. While Arp was fully aligned with its major goals, he differed from other Dadaists in continuing to seek an aesthetic quality in his work.
The smooth swelling of the form and the flowing energy of the curves in this sculpture suggest growth, movement, and fertility. Arp described this work as “the realization of a basic shape of the female torso, … a descendant from the torsos and dolls appearing on reliefs and collages of the Dada period.” The form resists a literal interpretation; as the viewer circles around it, perceptions such as “front” or “back” dissolve in ambiguity.
Arp created this marble version in 1953 after his friend and art dealer Curt Valentin noticed the first version—a small plaster done in 1930—in Arp’s studio and requested that he make a larger sculpture.