Zadkine: the superb must-see exhibition

Musee Zadkine

It's a cute little workshop hidden at the end of a tree-lined courtyard… The Zadkine museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary, having been bequeathed by Valentine Prax (wife of Ossip Zadkine but also a renowned painter) to the city of Paris .

A bucolic place witnessing the daily creation of the couple, in the heart of the Montparnasse district , the nerve center of the artistic effervescence of the beginning of the 20th century. The Ossip Zadkine exhibition . Une vie d'atelier offers an intimate journey through a selection of masterpieces created in this magical and emotionally charged place.

From the Parisian workshops of Montparnasse…

Paris, “ where one truly becomes an artist, a sculptor in particular ”, as Zadkine affirms so well in his memoirs Le mallet et le ciseau . At that time, the capital shines. Montparnasse is the center of the world: writers, painters and sculptors meet there to talk about the avant-garde and modernity in the cafés. Their dreams are big, but their means are small.

At La Ruche (the Parisian workshop which notably housed Chagall , Soutine and Modigliani ), Zadkine, who was very poor, recovered scrap wood and stones to make his sculptures at the beginnings of the Cubist aesthetic . Then, his participation in the First World War as a soldier generates trauma. His work evolves, his disorder too, until Valentine Prax comes into his life. Both then moved to rue d'Assas , and reciprocally gave each other an immense creative impulse.

…Until the madness of Assas

The fashionable photographer of the time, Marc Vaux , inaugurates several film shots of the couple, together or separately, in the intimacy of a moment of creation or posing near their works. These photos, presented throughout the exhibition, testify to the very strong link that the two spouses maintained with their home-workshop. Total immersion!

A variety of works and materials

24 wooden sculptures demonstrate Zadkine 's attachment to this material. Among them, t es of men , women and reminders of great mythological figures ( Prometheus , Demeter , etc.). Other creations, in bronze this time, are also visible in the garden , where the artist's lyricism is expressed through The Human Forest , a work initially conceived in terracotta . Stones (limestone, granite, alabaster, and lava) are present in 32 of the sculptures in the exhibition, mostly made before 1930, during a period of artistic renewal.

A touching exhibition at the heart of the creative genius and the daily life of these two artists, against the backdrop of the great historic upheavals of the 20th century.

Zadkine Museum , open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., price €9

Also find a flamboyant exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe

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