Jean Arp

Alternative Name(s): Hans Arp
Date of Birth: September 16, 1886
Place of Birth: Strasbourg, France
Date of Death: June 7, 1966
Focus: Painter, Sculptor
Art movement: Dada, Surrealism, Abstraction
Nationality: French

Famous Jean Arp Artwork

Jean Arp Biography

Born in Strassburg, Germany, which later became Strasbourg, France, Jean Arp was known as an influential European avant-guarde painter and sculptor, working from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

It was in Strasbourg that Arp first began his training as an artist. He went on to study in Weinmar, Germany and at the Académie Julian, located in Paris. Associated briefly with his friend, Wassily Kandinsky, Arp was for a short time part of Der Blaue Reiter. After his return to France, his Paris friends were the writer Max Jacob and Picasso, Modigliani, and Delaunay.

With the advent of World War I, Arp left Paris and moved to Zürich, Switzerland. It was there that he was instrumental in the founding of the art movement called Dada. His first abstracts and paper cutouts were done while in Zürich, and he participated in the Berlin Dada exhibition of 1920. By 1925, he had aligned himself with the Surrealists and participated in the first Surrealist exhibition, which was held in Paris. Breaking away again, he began to discover more abstract forms and became more geometrical and severe in style. Heading towards sculpture, his insistence was that his work was “concrete” rather than “abstract.”

He created a towering sculpture for Harvard University while in the U.S. and a mural in relief for the UNESCO Building in Paris; by 1954, he was the recipient of the Venice Biennale Prize for Sculpture. He is regarded as a leader within the Dada, Surrealist and abstract art movements; his work influenced much of the sculpture during the 20th century.