Catalogue entry

Jean Arp 1886-1966

N06025 Fruit de Pagode (Pagoda Fruit) 1949

Not inscribed
Bronze, 33 7/8 x 28 ¾ x 23 ½ (91 x 73 x 59.7)
Purchased from artist (Knapping Fund) 1951
Exh: XXV Biennale, Venice, June-October 1950 (Arp 5, plaster repr. pl.107); Arp, Galerie Maeght, Paris, November-December 1950 (1); Sculpture, Battersea Park, London, May-September 1951 (3, repr.)
Lit: Note on no.5 in exh. catalogue Begründer der modernen Plastik, Kunsthaus, Zurich, November-December 1954; Carola Giedion-Welcker, Jean Arp (London 1957), No.97, p.111, repr. p.51; Ionel Jianou, Jean Arp (Paris 1973), No.97, p.71
Repr: Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia, Jean Arp (Paris 1952), n.p.; Herbert Read, Arp (London 1968), p.89 in colour; Simon Wilson, The Surrealists (London 1974), pl.23

The artist wrote on 24 November 1951 that the maquette in plaster for this work (ht. 23cm) was executed in 1934. Two casts were made from it in cement and were in his studio at Meudon. The present work, cast in 1949, was the first bronze to be made; the edition would not exceed three bronzes.

Additional information is contained in a note on a further cast published in the catalogue of the 1954 Zurich exhibition: 'The small model, 20cm high, carved direct, is in the artist's studio. He had it enlarged in plaster and cast in bronze after the war. A bronze with a black patina was exhibited in 1950 at the Venice Biennale and was bought by the Tate Gallery from an open-air exhibition at Battersea Park in London. The bronze exhibited in Zurich is its twin and its patina is natural. Arp called it pagoda fruit because it is a fruit of his imagination and because the upper part of the work evokes for him the hooded roof of Chinese pagodas.' The other two bronzes are now in the University of California at Los Angeles and the Ströhmer collection, Darmstadt.

The catalogue of Arp's reliefs and sculptures by Mme Marguerite Arp in Jianou, op. cit., lists under 1934 three versions of 'Pagoda Fruit' 23cm high, including the two casts in cement mentioned above, both of which were then still in the Arp collection at Clamart, and a carving in white marble owned by Hove Equipment of Canada in Montreal. The marble and one of the cement casts (known as 'Pagoda Fruit on a Basin') are both mounted on wooden socles.

Mme Arp's secretary Greta El-Hinnawy Ströh adds (letter of 2 October 1974): 'Monsieur André Mounier, who worked with Arp over many years, has confirmed to me that Arp did not carve marble directly. The only "tailles directes" by him were done in limestone. Therefore it appears that he first made the plaster and had the marble cut - under his supervision - by a stone cutter (either Mr Santelli or Mr Tarabella). The plaster for the enlargement which is in the Tate would have been made by him with the help of an assistant. Often - when enlarging sculptures - Arp changed the proportions as he went along and therefore a purely mechanical enlargement by someone else was not permitted. The only cases where they are even nowadays carried out ("Les Trois Graces" in Jerusalem, "L'Apparat d'une Danse", Bahnhof Rolandseck, etc) are with the so-called "Seuils" = thresholds. Only here enlargements can be made without changing the proportions, because the sculpture doesn't change its harmony.'

The cylindrical base on which the Tate's sculpture stands was made in accordance with the artist's instructions and is similar in form to the bases of the white marble and 'Pagoda Fruit on a Basin' of 1934.

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.22-3, reproduced p.22