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Tour: Hans Arp’s Constellations II

Hans Arp’s relief, Constellations, as displayed in Harkness Commons Dining Room, Harvard University, c. 1950. Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth. Photo: D. H. Wright.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Join us for an in-depth tour of the exhibition Hans Arp’s Constellations II, on view from February 8 to July 28, 2019, by exhibition curator Melissa Venator, the Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow in the Busch-Reisinger Museum.

This exhibition presents the room-sized wall relief Constellations II, by Alsatian artist and poet Hans Arp (1886–1966). On public view for the first time in 15 years, the work was commissioned for the Harvard Graduate Center by Harvard architecture professor and Bauhaus founding director Walter Gropius. The relief’s 13 panels were first installed in 1950 on facing walls of a popular dining room in Harkness Commons (now the Caspersen Center), at the Harvard Law School.

By 1958, heavy use of the dining room had caused damage to the relief, prompting a new placement of the work above table height. Subsequent painting campaigns transformed the panels’ stained redwood finish to gray-blue, then to white, and back to natural. With the cooperation of Harvard Law School, which transferred the relief to the Harvard Art Museums in 2017, the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies undertook a yearlong conservation initiative to restore the work to its original finish.

The presentation of Constellations II coincides with The Bauhaus and Harvard, the museums’ Spring 2019 special exhibition mounted in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus. Explore more about the Bauhaus centenary here.

Free with museums admission.

This tour is limited to 15 people and tickets are required. Ten minutes before the tour, tickets will become available at the admissions desk.

Please meet in the Calderwood Courtyard, in front of the digital screens between the shop and the admissions desk. Museums staff will be on hand to collect tickets.

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Support for this exhibition was provided by the Daimler Curatorship of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Fund, the Charles L. Kuhn Endowment Fund, and the Care of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Collection Endowment. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art. We also wish to thank our colleagues at the Harvard Law School for their collaboration.