Paris, July 2nd. Monday, Reception for the Unveiling of the Arman Sculpture, “Small Liberties Born out of Larger Ones” (1996) In a reception hall at the residence of the United States Embassy in Paris, Ambassador and Mrs. Craig Stapleton hosted a cocktail party for a select group of guests and friends for the unveiling of “Small Liberties Born out of Larger Ones’, a bronze accumulation of Statues of Liberty created by Arman in 1996. In brief remarks, the Ambassador noted that the sculpture was the latest in a series of works on view at the Embassy as part of the theme, “The Ties That Bind”. It is the first, however, to be exhibited in the garden of the residence. Praising Arman as a creative and talented French-American artist, the ambassador said that he showed his love for his two countries through his art. When he saw a photo of Arman’s sculpture, he said, “It was perfect and the project was launched.” The ambassador made mention of the fact that Arman’s sculpture, “ Homage to the French Revolution” is on view at the Elysee Palace, the residence of the French President.
Among the special guests at the reception was Rodica Seward, president of Tajan SA, the French auction house, who collaborated with the ambassador on the selection of works for the exhibition. Following the ambassador’s remarks, Corice Arman thanked the Stapletons for their gracious hospitality and noted how proud Arman would have been with the honor. “Nothing can be more gratifying to me who has been entrusted with his enduring legacy than this special recognition,” she said. Speaking of Arman’s “profound” affection for France and America and the liberty they both represented, she said, “This was especially true when it came to artists. Arman was outspoken against censorship and political oppression because he knew that art is THE tie that binds.” The sculpture, “Small Liberties Born of Larger Ones” which stands ten feet high (over three meters), is the most important of several works of art which Arman created on one of his favorite themes: the Statue of Liberty.
Ladies and Gentlemen, good friends. Good evening and welcome to the residence. My wife Debbie and I are very pleased to received you to unveil the Arman sculpture, “Small Liberties born out of Larger Ones.” It is the last work of art that we will be installing in the residence and the first sculpture in our garden which is an integral part of our exhibition theme, “ The Ties That Bind.” First of all I ‘d like to thank Corice Canton Arman, the artist’s widow who loaned us this magnificent sculpture. I would also like to greet her daughter, Yasmine, who is also here. I must also thank my friend, Rodica Seward, President of Tajan SA. When I told Rodica my idea to extend this exhibition to the garden with sculptures by French and American artists, she immediately understood how we could collaborate to make this project a success. Rodica showed me a photo of a sculpture inspired by the Statue of Liberty and created by a French-American artist. It was perfect and so the project was launched. As you may well know, Arman was born in France and became an American citizen after his marriage to Corice. Arman loved his two countries and he showed his pride in his work which makes reference to our Lady Liberty in New York. He was a creative and talented artist. I understand that one of his sculptures in marble, “Homage to the
French Revolution” is on view at the Elysee Palace. The French-American friendship is rich and profound. It began before the creation of my country when the French fought side by side with the American soldiers in our War of Independence. France marked this friendship in 1886, over a hundred years after our independence, with their gift of the Statue of Liberty which lights up the world and which was created by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. Now, this statue is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world for liberty and democracy and I’d like to point out that we have several sculptures and paintings by American folk artists for the 100th Anniversary of the Statue on display in our residence. I hope you will tour the residence after you have the opportunity to appreciate this magnificent statue which is outside. Now come and admire this work of art and this symbol of friendship between our two countries.
Ambassador and Mrs. Stapleton, Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality. Family and friends, Thank you for being here. I am indeed moved and honoured to stand here before you at this ceremony for a sculpture which my late husband created in 1996. Nothing can be more gratifying to me who has been entrusted with his enduring legacy than this special recognition of which he would have been most proud. And I give a heartfelt thanks to Rodica Seward for her “divine” intervention. Born in Nice, France in 1928, Arman first came to America in 1961 for a one-man show in New York. He later settled in New York, where we raised our family. And in 1973, he became a U.S. citizen. He continued his work on both sides of the Atlantic and always had a profound affection for America and France…Especially for the Tie That Binds Them Together: their mutual love of freedom. In fact, this sculpture “Small Liberties Born of Larger Ones” has a sister of sorts at the Elysee Palace. It is Arman’s “Homage to the French Revolution”, an accumulation of Flags in marble he created in 1985. It stands in the Great Hall of Honor where the President welcomes dignitaries. Arman was in awe of the French Revolution as well as what the Statue of Liberty represents. And through the strategy of accumulation, he gave us a new way to look at familiar objects. In his use of the Statue of Liberty he brilliantly managed to rekindle its spirit of welcome, its warm embrace to those “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” in the timeless words of Emma Lazarus. This was especially true when it came to artists. Arman was outspoken against censorship and political oppression because he knew that art is the tie that binds . It is through art that our common humanity is best expressed. My husband built things to last. Marble, bronze, and towers of concrete were just a few of the mediums in which he worked. But he knew that the most lasting monuments were those of the heart and of the spirit. I and my children, Yasmine and Philippe, are grateful that you have chosen to celebrate with his work the SPIRITUAL bond between the two countries which most inspired his fervent creativity and passionate love of life. I can’t think of a more fitting and gracious tribute. Thank You.