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Jean Arp

Born 1886, Strasbourg, France.
Died 1966, Basel, Switzerland.

«Arp was a founding member of the Dada movement in Zürich in 1916. In 1920, as Hans Arp, along with Max Ernst, and the social activist Alfred Grünwald, he set up the Cologne Dada group. He began to evolve his personal style of abstract compositions through an organic morphology, frequently sensuous in form, and began to experiment with automatic composition (automatism). In 1925, he participated in the first Surrealist exhibition in Paris, before breaking with Surrealism to become a founder member of Abstraction-Creation in 1931, when his characteristic organic forms became more severe and geometrical. At a time when he began to turn towards full 3-D sculptures, Arp insisted that his sculpture was 'concrete' rather than 'abstract', since it occupied space, and that art was a natural generation of form: 'a fruit that grows in man', as he put it. Arp visited the USA in 1949 and 1950, and completed a monumental wood and metal relief for Harvard University, and a mural relief for the UNESCO Building in Paris in 1958. He won the international prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1954. A dominant personality within Dada, Surrealism and abstract art, his reliefs and sculptures have had a decisive influence upon the sculpture of this century.»