ca. 1925
Gelatin silver print
9 x 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8 cm)

Jean Arp (1887-1966), one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, was born Hans Arp in the city of Strasbourg in Alsace-Lorraine, then a part of Germany. Like many artists of his generation, his life was completely changed with the outbreak of World War I. To avoid military service, he moved to neutral Switzerland, where he settled in Zürich and became a founding member of the Dada group that performed at the Cabaret Voltaire. His work developed rapidly in the fervent creative atmosphere of Zürich Dada, and his collages, paintings, tapestries, wood reliefs, and woodcuts established the intentionally playful and witty visual vocabulary that he would pursue for the rest of his career. Informed by chance procedures and the organic forms of nature, Arp created abstract renderings of motifs such as birds, clouds, eggs, flowers, and fruits. By 1925, when Man Ray made this dramatically shadowed portrait, Arp had moved to Paris and joined the Surrealist group.

Gift of Timothy Baum
Man Ray: The Paris Years, VMFA, October 30, 2021 – February 21, 2022

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