works of Jean Arp will join Tuesday the French
collections to be exhibited in the studio of the artist in Clamart.
For Claude Weil-Seigeot, president of the Arp Foundation in Clamart,
this restitution puts a final point at an old litigation which opposed
it to the German Foundation “Hans Harp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp” with
which, since the signature of a compromise agreement in 2001, it
“cooperates fully for the development of the work” of the artist
hobby-horse and surrealist, in partnership with the third foundation
dedicated to Arp, located in Switzerland.
The unit restored Tuesday, composed of 114 plasters and 32 reliefs out
of metal dating from the Thirties, testifies to one of the most fertile
periods of the artist, who then explores, through the plaster, the
sculpture in round bump.
Since nearly two decades, the Arp Foundation claimed the return of
these works on their place of creation, become museum of France in
2004. Created in 1979 by the second wife of the artist, Marguerite
Hagenbach, this foundation is installed in Clamart, where the artist
had come to live in 1929 in a house-workshop conceived by his first
wife, the artist Sophie Taeuber (1889-1943).
It had received in its combat the support of a collective of sculptors,
around in particular of François Stahly, Antoine Poncet and
Agnès Bracquemond, joined with the wire of time by many
personalities of arts.
Cofondatrice of the Foundation of Clamart, with which it maintained the
surging reports/ratios starting from the middle of the Eighties, the
German foundation, based close to Bonn and with which Mrs. Arp had
yielded the entirety of the drawing rights after the death of the
artist, decides into 1988 to carry in Germany several works, including
146 plasters and reliefs.
According to Mrs. Weil-Seigeot, the German foundation “then exceeded
its rights, the drawing rights not giving right of ownership on the
The business knows a new bounce when one of exported works is
reintroduced in France for the realization of a cast iron, drawing the
attention of the French customs, which note that the amounts declared
with export into 1988 “had been fraudulently undervalued”. According to
Mrs. Weil-Seigeot, works “had then been presented like building
The customs then require the reimportation of the unit, which is
carried out only in… 1992. Works are then placed out of warehouse,
always under the responsibility of the German Foundation.
Four years later, 146 works remake speech of them at the Franco-Belgian
border: in May 1996, the customs officers of Saint-Amand (Northern)
discover them in a truck on the way for Germany. Part of works being in
infringement taking into consideration legislation on the circulation
of the cultural goods, the entirety of the loading is seized, in
accordance with the law.
Following a long procedure, during which several decisions of court
recognized the character of “historical collection” to the unit, works
became the property of the administration of the French customs. At the
end of this funny course, France carries out finally a
beautiful operation, with the entry of these works, whose value was not
revealed, in its national collections.