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Ossip Zadkine was a painter and sculptor of Russian origin. At the age of 16, Zadkine was sent to London for his studies but the young man ran away, interested only in art, and sculpture in particular. He went to Paris in 1909 to devote himself to his passion. He ended up settling there permanently. He began by teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts. Ossip Zadkine admired Gustave Rodin, who subverted conventions with his anti-academic approach. He rubbed shoulders with the artists of La Ruche in the Montparnasse district, such as Brancusi, Bourdelle, Picasso, Survage, Lipchitz, Delaunay and Modigliani. Despite his very academic training, he quickly changed direction.

Ossip Zadkine reintroduced poetry into sculpture. The discovery of African carved heads in Paris in the early 1910s made a significant impact on his art. His sculptures are a synthesis of volumes, a succession of cut-out planes, also reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s Cubism. In the beginning, his sculptures were made of pieces of wood: he cut directly into the trunks of trees. Afterwards, he worked mainly in stone, and especially bronze. He inverted the hollows and bumps, which in turn inverted the play of shadows and light.

In 1919, he exhibited for the first time in Brussels and Paris. In parallel with his sculptures, he produced many gouaches in a very removed, expressive style. He mainly depicted a dreamlike world populated by muses, musicians or centaurs. Ossip Zadkine was strongly influenced by Greek mythology. The human figure is recurrent in his work. The representations of Discobole and Demeter are amongst his most famous sculptures. He took part in many group exhibitions, as well as solo exhibitions which were devoted to him in Europe. In Paris, he moved into a house at number 100 rue d’Assas, in the sixth arrondissement. His house-studio is now a museum that preserves a large part of his production, both sculptures and paintings.


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Ossip Zadkine smoking his pipe, 1956. Courtesy Zadkine Research Center.

Buste de jeune fille, terracotta, 1914

“the rhythm of Zadkine, who subordinates himself to the material he uses, his emotion vibrating in unison with that of the marble block or the tree he has chosen.”

Maurice Raynal, art critic

Brummer Gallery, Zadkine, New York, 1937. © Zadkine Research Center.

“The language of sculpture is a pretentious void if it is not composed of words of love and poetry.”

Ossip Zadkine

Artworks

Ossip Zadkine

Orphée et les Nymphes, 1932
Sculpted plaster, Bas relief
180 x 245 x 33 cm | 70 7/8 x 96 1/2 x 13 in.

Ossip Zadkine, Femme au violon

1918

Ossip Zadkine, Tête d’homme

1924

Exhibitions

Art Fairs

Publications

News

FROM FAUVISM TO SURREALISM. MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE DE PARIS

February 11, 2022 - May 22, 2022

Musée Guggenheim Bilbao

The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM) and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao present a selection of nearly seventy masterpieces by significant artists that illustrates the history of the MAM collection while offering an overview of the avant-garde artistic movements born in Paris during the first decades of the twentieth century. The MAM was built on […]

FROM FAUVISM TO SURREALISM. MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE DE PARIS

Zadkine by the Sea

October 6, 2018 - March 3, 2019

Musée Beelden aan Zee

Who isn’t familiar with that bronze figure in Rotterdam with a hole in his body? Sometimes he is called ‘Holey Jan’ or ‘Jan with the hands.’ The sculpture is actually called De Verwoeste Stad (The destroyed city) and is considered worldwide as one of the most successful monuments for victims of the Second World War. Its fame […]

Zadkine by the Sea

OSSIP ZADKINE – L’INSTINCT DE LA MATIERE

September 28, 2018 - February 10, 2019

Musée Zadkine, Paris

C’est l’instinct qui prime d’abord ; c’est le plus important ; tout le reste vient plus tard ; alors on s’arme d’une logique qui pénètre chaque geste.  Ossip Zadkine, Entretien avec Jacques Charles, 16 septembre 1966 Le musée Zadkine rend un hommage inédit à l’artiste en soulignant sa place aussi originale que singulière au sein […]

OSSIP ZADKINE – L’INSTINCT DE LA MATIERE

Ossip Zadkine : L’oeuvre sculpté

Publication

Sylvain Lecombre

Sculpteur reconnu dès les années 20 pour sa pratique de la taille directe, du bois (Samson et Dalila, Le Prophète) et de la pierre (Dame à la mandoline, Maternité), Zadkine s’inscrit alors dans le courant du primitivisme et des recherches de l’avant-garde du début du XXème siècle. « Je pense que les sculpteurs de ma génération tels […]

Ossip Zadkine : L’oeuvre sculpté

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