Biographical Note by Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia 
Jean Arp was born at Strassburg 
on September 16, 1887. 
In 1904 he came to Paris, where 
he was troubled and moved by his 
first contacts with modern painting. 
In 1909 he went to Switzerland, 
settled at Weggis and worked for 
several years in great solitude. He 
was obsessed by a need for perfection 
and the absolute, which impelled 
him to seek an art divested of all in 
dividual dynamism. 
Arp was at Zurich in 1915. This 
was the period of “papiers collés” 
and accidental “objects,” rudimen 
tary, irrational, useless, broken, 
found at random, which mark the 
first symptoms of the Dada spirit. 
Dada was active in Zurich from 1915 
to 1921, and he was one of its pro 
moters. In 1917 Arp started work 
on his “Reliefs,” which, plastically 
speaking, are situated between the 
“Object” and the sculpture proper 
of his late works. At the same time 
he published several books of poems 
which for him are equal in impor 
tance to his plastic works. He often 
likes to pick up poems of his youth 
and introduce new passages which 
amplify the original text and change 
its meaning. 
Arp settled in Meudon in 1926. At 
this period he met the surrealists, 
took part in their exhibitions and 
contributed to their magazines. 
1930 to 1948. Arp’s creative sen 
sibility impelled him to seek a di 
rect, concrete art without imitative 
or symbolic trickery, and inspired 
purely sculptural works which iden 
tify themselves with natural forms, 
without description or imitation. 
He has always been attracted by the 
idea of collective work; he has oc 
casionally realized collective projects 
with certain friends, and particu 
larly with Sophie Taeuber.

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