Casals’ Obelisk, 1983, Arman (French, 1928)
Bronze 240” x 84” x 60”
Arman was born in Nice, France in 1928. His
father was an antique dealer who gave Arman his first painting lessons. During his early
years Arman worked a variety of jobs such as furniture salesman, judo school instructor and harpoon fisherman to support his
In his mature style, Arman created art in the Nouveau Realism style with other artists and friends such as Yves Klein. Nouveau Realists chose to turn away from the popular abstract style of modern art and instead began using existing objects, found objects or the human body for inspiration. In
Pablo Casals’ Obelisk, Arman chose to reproduce the cello over and over in bronze. He has piled the whole or parts of the cello in
a massive tower that resembles an obelisk, one of the chief forms of monumental art in early cultures. Obelisks were prevalent in ancient Egypt
and were used by ancient Egyptians as commemorative monuments. The shape has been adapted by many architects across time as
a means to paying tribute to rulers and events.
Architect Robert Mills adopted this shape to pay tribute to America’s
first President with the Washington Monument
located in Washington D.C.
In his obelisk of cellos,
Arman commemorates and pays tribute to the famous Spanish-Puerto Rican cellist and human right activist, Pablo Casals (1876-1973).
The Nouveau Realism style of the cello parts, the use of bronze and the monumentality of the obelisk form combine beautifully
to make an eloquent monument to a great artist and humanitarian.