Jean Arp was born in Strasbourg to a French mother and German father, and studied art at the Strasbourg École des Arts et Métiers, and in Weimar and Paris before co-founding Der Moderne Bund, the first modern art alliance in Switzerland in 1911. In 1912 he visited Munich, where he collaborated with Wassily Kandinsky and the Blue Rider group, before arriving in Zurich in 1915, where he met Sophie Taeuber (1889-1943). Arp and Taeuber collaborated extensively over the next decades, and they married in 1922. After being active in the Dada movement in Cologne and Berlin, along with Max Ernst and Kurt Schwitters, Arp began working with bronze and stone sculptures in the 1930s. His work during this period referenced Surrealism and Dada but also abstraction, collage and poetry. These productive years were interrupted by Taeuber-Arp's early death in 1943, which left him devastated.
Arp remained in Zurich until the end of World War II, and, from 1946, was living with the collector Marguerite Hagenbach (1902-1994) between Clamart and Basel. In 1959, they married, and purchased the Ronco dei Fiori house in Locarno-Solduno. They both made significant donations to the city of Locarno, and in 1977, after Arp's death, Marguerite founded Arp Estates in Germany and France. In 1988 she transferred the part of her collection that she had retained, the Nachlass Arp, Schweiz (Arp Estate, Switzerland), the library and the studio-house to the her newly-established Fondazione Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach, Ronco dei Fiori. The studio-house at Locarno-Solduno, where Jean and Maguerite lived and worked, can be visited by appointment. Marguerite Arp, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp are all buried together in the cemetery of Locarno.
Fondazione Marguerite Arp
Via alle Vigne 44
41 91 751 25 43
Exhibition space: 16 April - 29 October, Sundays, 2pm - 6pm
Guided tours by appointment.
Fondazione Marguerite Arp, Locarno-Solduno, studio house at Ronco dei Fiori, Photo: © Roberto Pellegrini