French, born Germany, 1886-1966
In 1958, the organizers of the Brussels World’s Fair commissioned Jean (Hans) Arp to create a small-scale bronze sculpture. Casts of the sculpture were presented to the individuals who contributed to the success of the Fair’s exhibition 50 ans d’art modern (50 Years of Modern Art), including former Albright-Knox Director Gordon M. Smith. Man Seen by a Flower was one of Smith's prized possessions and was displayed on his desk throughout his tenure at the museum. While small in stature, the sculpture encapsulates all of the qualities of Arp’s major works. Its abstracted, biomorphic form flows from the head of a man to his torso and outstretched legs, and the work bears a notable resemblance to Arp’s Somersault. The element of chance that Arp often explored is also present—there is no definitive way to the view this work, and it can be installed in numerous ways.
Label from Artists in Depth: Arp, Miró, Calder, March 25, 2011–April 15, 2012