T05008 Portrait of Jean Arp 1957
Black chalk on grey laid paper 482 × 320 (19 × 12 5/8); watermarks ‘Ingres’ and ‘Canson & Mo[ntgolfier]’
Inscribed ‘Bellmer’ b.r.
Presented by Mr and Mrs Robert Lewin through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1987
Prov: Bought from the artist by Galerie André François Petit, Paris by whom sold to Mr Lewin c.1975–6
Exh: Bellmer: Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, April–June 1967, Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, July–Sept. 1967 (102, repr. p.12 as ‘Portrait Hans Arp III’)
Lit: Peter Webb and Robert Short, Hans Bellmer, London 1985, p.221; Friends of the Tate Gallery Report 1987–8, 1988, p.17, repr.
This is a portrait of Jean (or, as he was originally known, Hans) Arp, a pioneer of abstract art who was closely associated with the Dada and Surrealist movements. Hans Bellmer first learnt of Arp's work towards the end of the First World War when, as a teenager living in Katowice in Silesia, he managed to obtain some Dada periodicals. However, he met Arp only when he moved to Paris in 1938 and began to mix with the Surrealist group of artists and writers. Following the Second World War Bellmer lived a life of poverty and relative isolation, though he continued to receive the support of the Surrealists who admired his erotic drawings, photographs and constructions of ‘poupées’, or dolls…