Prefatory Note: 
Shadowy figure in a low, modern doorway; marble white, precisely carved 
biomorphic eggs; light blue and white jig-saw puzzles, cleanly painted like 
fishermen’s buoys or toy boats; full of satires (“man is a pot the handles of 
which fell out of his own holes”); loving “nature but not its substitute,” repre 
sentation; a modern man who hates for art or the world to wear the costumes 
of the past, a man who loathes the intrusion of the social world. 
The “world of memory and dreams is the real world”; there Arp would 
live as a private citizen, but thought of the social world arouses his rage; his 
invective equalled only by that of his friend Max Ernst and of Picasso and 
Wyndham Lewis among modernist artists; his words explode at the workings 
of modern society, costumed fraud; he cannot bear that the “daily black joke” 
exists beside the “real world”; the Dadaist in him is aroused, and he writes 
true poetry, spontaneous and unforced, without desire to “be” a poet. 
The emotion in his sculpture is prolonged; it is carved from hard stones; 
rage never enters his plastic work. Even the torn papers in his collages “ar 
ranged according to the laws of chance” which might, to the innocent, seem 
angry rebellion against traditional art are serene, an effort to find a natural 
order, like that of leaves fallen on the ground (an order like any other when 
perceived as such, and relaxed and uninsistent). He finds correspondences for 
the volumes and rhythms of the surface of the human body, quiet and living, 
in bed, in the studio, and on the bank of the river, wherever it moves slowly or 
rests stationary. 
Imagine coming upon one of Arp’s sculptures of “stone formed by human 
hand” in midst of a wood. Few artists in modern times enhance nature, perhaps 
only Arp. Brancusi’s outdoor works are monumental stone tables and columns 
on the scale of the elements, settings for a modern Oedipus or Lear; Alberto 
Giacometti’s recent figures are pervaded with anguish, the “I” seen from dis 
tance, untouched, a stranger in the world of nature and man. Arp is a true 
pastoral artist (“my reliefs and sculptures fit naturally in nature”); his scale 
derives from adjusting the human body to its surroundings, garden or field; 
his process is slow and even as nature’s, carving that has the effect of Avater run 
over human stones (“the empty spaces in the marble nests . . . were fragrant 
as floAvers”). No Avonder predatory man nauseates him! His love is permanent. 
The sky is August blue. Green skins dangle from the wild cherry trees. Its 
hair scorched, the ground droAvses. If an Arp sculpture Avere present, it too 
Avould sleep in the sun (“I Avork until enough of my life has flotved into its 
Robert Motherwell, 24 August, 1948 
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