Modern and Contemporary Art
Jean (Hans) Arp, French (born Germany), 1886 - 1966
Painted wood© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
27 1/2 x 33 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches (69.9 x 84.8 x 3.8 cm)
Currently not on view
1950-134-2The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950
LabelThis monochrome wood relief is part of a series that Jean (Hans) Arp produced in the late 1920s and early 1930s in which white amoebic shapes float in random configurations that suggest cellular life or planetary movement. The object-like nature of Constellation, in which the frame is an integral part of the composition, renegotiates the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Paris; sold to Louise and Walter C. Arensberg, Los Angeles, 1937 ; gift to PMA, 1950.
1. See letter from Duchamp to Arensbergs, September 8, 1951 (PMA Arensberg Archives, CA Use Tax file), stating that he sold them the work from his private collection. A series of letters from Galka Scheyer in Hollywood to Hans Arp in 1933-1934 discuss a relief referred to only as "Configuration in White" or "das weisse Relief" purchased by the Arensbergs through Scheyer. Since "Constellation" is the only work by Arp in the Arensberg collection as bequeathed to the PMA in 1950, either the Arensbergs acquired a different work of his and subsequently sold or traded it, or Duchamp was mistaken and "Constellation" was purchased through Scheyer in 1933.