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Jean Arp

7 of 7 portraits of Jean Arp

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Jean Arp

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, 1960
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x132965

Sitterback to top

  • Jean Arp (1886-1966), Sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker and poet. Sitter in 7 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist associated with 1564 portraits, Sitter in 137 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Kar photographed Arp at his studio at 21 rue des Châtaigniers in Clamart, near Paris, now the Arp Foundation. The sculptures include Tree of Bowls (1947) and Torse de Muse (1959).

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Freestone, Clare (appreciation) Wright, Karen (appreciation), Ida Kar Bohemian Photographer, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 March to 19 June 2011), p. 85 Read entry

    Hans Arp, later Jean, trained in his native Strasbourg, and subsequently studied in Weimar and at the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1912 he met Sonia and Robert Delaunay in Paris, and Kandinsky and the artists of the Blaue Reiter group in Munich. At the beginning of the First World War he moved to Zurich, where he made his first monochrome wood reliefs and was a co-founder of the Dada movement in 1916. From 1919 to 1920 he collaborated in Dada activities with Max Ernst in Cologne before moving to Paris. He contributed to the periodical La revolution surréaliste and showed his work at the first exhibition of surrealist artists in 1925. After 1928, he developed his best-known work, the sculptures 'in the round'. In 1930 he made his first papiers déchirés (torn papers) and the following year participated in the Abstraction-Creation movement. He continued his experiments with abstract form and also wrote poetry. In 1954, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale. Kar photographed Arp at his studio, now the Arp Foundation, 21 rue des Châtaigniers in Clamart, near Paris, with sculptures including Tree of Bowls (1947) and Torse de Muse (1959). During the later years of his life, Arp divided his time between a studio in Locarno, Switzerland, where he lived with his second wife, and his home in Clamart, which was designed by his first wife, the artist Sophie Taeuber.

Placesback to top

  • Place made and portrayed: France (sitter's studio, 21 rue des Châtaigniers, Clamart, France)

Events of 1960back to top

Current affairs

Prince Andrew is born, the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
The Contraceptive Pill is introduced in England, dramatically changing the nation's approach to sex and relationships, and significantly contributing to the 1960s culture of liberation.

Art and science

Penguin books defend D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover against charges of obscenity by demonstrating that the novel was of literary merit. The 'not guilty' verdict was seen as a victory for free speech and marked the beginning if a new era of liberalism.
The satirical review Beyond the Fringe launches the careers of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.


Harold Macmillan delivers his 'wind of change' speech to the South African Parliament in Cape Town, announcing Britain's decision to grant independence to many of her colonies. The speech recognised the emergence of African nationalism, and criticised the policy of Apartheid in South Africa.

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