Jean Arp (Hans Arp)

Winged Being


Not on display

Jean Arp (Hans Arp) 1886–1966
Original title
Entité ailée
Displayed: 1400 × 350 × 300 mm, 30 kg (20kg figure / 10kg base)
Presented by Mme Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach, the artist's widow 1975

Display caption

Arp was inspired by the organic and fluid shapes found in nature. Very interested in ancient mystic philosophy, he believed that nature expressed the dynamic force of life and wished to imitate this energy in his work: ’I tried to make forms grow’, he wrote, ’I put my trust in the example of seeds, stars, clouds, plants, animals, men, and finally, in my innermost being’.

Gallery label, June 2003

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Catalogue entry

Jean Arp 1886-1966

T02007 Entité ailée (Winged Being) 1961

Not inscribed
Plaster, 49 5/8 x 13 7/8 x 10 3/4 (126 x 35.3 x 27.3); height including plaster and steel base 55 1/4 (140.5)
Presented by Mme Marguerite Arp 1975
Lit: Edward Trier, Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach and François Arp, Jean Arp: Sculpture 1957-1966 (London 1968), No. 252a, p.117, repr. p.116

Arp first made in 1961 a smaller version of this sculpture 101cm high (Trier No.252) of which a marble and three bronze casts exist, plus a cement cast made from the plaster specially for the Giardini Arp in Locarno. This plaster enlargement was carried out later the same year, probably in close collaboration with his assistants. Three bronzes and two artist's proofs have been cast from it and one marble cut.

The smaller 'Winged Being' afterwards returned broken from an exhibition, which inspired Arp to create two new works of art, 'Angel's Torso' 1963 and 'Nocturnal Gaze' 1964 (Trier Nos.287 and 315), from the upper and lower part respectively.

It was his practice to title his works after they were completed. ('One work often requires months, years', he said. 'I work until enough of my life has flowed into its body. Each of these bodies has a spiritual content, but only on completion of the work do I interpret this content and give it a name'). Nevertheless the theme of 'Angels' occupied him for some time and appears in his poems of this period as well as in his sculptures. The title 'Entité ailée' was inspired by the Assyrian 'winged beings'.

(This note is based on information from Mme Arp and Mme Greta El-Hinnawy Ströh).

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.23-4, reproduced p.23

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