Catalogue entry

Jean Arp 1886-1966

T00242 Constellation selon les Lois du Hasard (Constellation according to the Laws of Chance) c.1930

Not inscribed
Painted wood relief, internal measurements 17 3/4 x 23 5/8 (45 x 60), overall dimensions 21 5/8 x 27 1/2 (55 x 69.7)
Bequeathed by E.C. Gregory 1959
Prov: [?with Mayor Gallery, London]; E. McKnight Kauffer, London (by 1936); E.C. Gregory, London
Exh: [?Recent Paintings by English, French and German Artists, Mayor Gallery, London, April 1933 (39 or 40, both entitled 'Composition')]; Contemporary Art, Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, May-June 1936 (174) as 'Composition', lent by McKnight Kauffer; Seventeen Collectors, Tate Gallery, March-April 1952 (58); Pictures without Paint, AIA Gallery, London, November 1957 (10); The Gregory Collection, ICA, London, July-August 1959 (2); Gregory Memorial Exhibition, Leeds City Art Gallery, March-April 1960 (1)
Lit: Ionel Jianou, Jean Arp (Paris 1973), p.59 (dated 1930)
Repr: John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery (London 1966), p.259; The Tate Gallery (London 1969), p.127; Simon Wilson, The Surrealists (London 1974), pl.21

At the time this was made, Arp seldom gave titles to his reliefs; however, reliefs of this type appear nowadays in monographs as 'Configuration', 'Constellation' or 'According to the Laws of Chance'. The artist therefore suggested that this work should be called 'Constellation according to the Laws of Chance'. He thought that it is almost certainly a unique piece; although he made editions of many of his reliefs, this was rather exceptional during the thirties in the case of the larger reliefs and especially those in which certain elements were painted. The first reliefs of this particular kind were made in 1930 (letter from Mme Marguerite Arp, 22 October 1959).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.21-2, reproduced p.21