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Ossip Zadkine was a Russian born artist who lived in France. He is primarily known as a sculptor, but also produced paintings and lithographs.

Zadkine was born on 4th, 1890 as Yossel Aronovich Tsadkin in the city of Vitsebsk, part of the Russian Empire (now Belarus). He was born to a Jewish father and a mother of Scottish origin.

After attending art school in London, Zadkine settled in Paris in 1910. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for six months. In 1911 he lived and worked in La Ruche. While in Paris he joined the Cubist movement, working in a Cubist idiom from 1914 to 1925. There he met Brancusi, Apollinaire, Lipchitz, Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani, who was to become a great friend to Zadkine. He later developed his own style, one that was strongly influenced by African and Greek art.

1921 he obtained obtain French citizenship. Zadkine served as a stretcher-bearer in the French Army during World War I, and was wounded in action. He spent World War II in the US. His best-known work is probably the sculpture The Destroyed City (1951-1953), representing a man without a heart, a memorial to the destruction of the center of the Dutch city of Rotterdam in 1940 by the German Luftwaffe.

In August 1920, Zadkine married Valentine Prax (1899—1991), an Algerian-born painter of Sicilian and French Catalan descent. They had no children. Throughout the twenties and thirties, Zadkine enjoyed international success with shows in Tokyo (Takenodai Gallery, 1922), Paris (Retrospective, Barbazanges Gallery, (1926), London (1928), Chicago (Arts Club, 1930), Brussels, and New York (1937). Hailed as a hugely important and influential European artist, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a Zadkine retrospective in 1949. In 1961 the Tate Gallery in London also held a seminal exhibition of his work, followed shortly after by a retrospective in the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1965.

Zadkine was a friend of Henry Miller and was represented by the character Borowski in Miller's Tropic of Cancer.

Zadkine died in Paris on November 27th, 1967 at the age of 77 after undergoing abdominal surgery and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. His former home and studio is now the Musée Zadkine.

There is also a Musée Zadkine in the village of Les Arques in the Midi-Pyrénées region. Zadkine lived in Les Arques for a number of years, and while there, carved an enormous Christ on the Cross and Pieta that are featured in the 12th-century church which stands opposite the museum.

Biography partially edited from Wikipedia


Venice Biennale sculpture prize 
Grand Prix National des Arts
Museums and Public Art Collections
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, British Columbia
Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Illinois
Brooklyn Museum, New York City
Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas   
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Harvard University Art Museums, Massachusetts
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. 
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Musée de Grenoble, France
Musée Zadkine, Paris
Musées de Lorraine, France
Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, Netherlands
Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, Netherlands
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Pomona College Museum of Art, California
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands


Zadkine was born on the 14th of July in Vitebsk, a city in Belarussia, on the Dvina.

His father Ephime teaches classical languages at the local seminar.

His mother Sophie Lester descended from Scots, who emigrated at the time of Peter the Great.

His parents send him to Sunderland, in the North of England, where his mother's family lives.

He studies English and attends modeling courses at the local Art School.


He travels to London without his parents permission where he attends courses at the Regent Street Polytechnicum.

In order to earn his living, he plans to work with a stonecutter.

He visits the British Museum and studies classical sculpture there.

Returns to Smolensk where he produces his first sculpture.

Goes back to London.


Zadkine settles in Paris and studies in the ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Finds a workshop in a building called La Ruche, in the XVe arrondissement.


Zadkine presents statues and drawings at the annual Salon d'Automne and at the Salon des Indépendants.

It is the 'cubists' who draw his attention in Paris.

Is essentially close to Russian students who get together in a cafe of the 'Quartier Latin'.

Has himself called Joe Zadkine until 1914.


Finds a room in the neighborhood of Montparnasse, in the rue de Vaugirard.

Studies Roman sculpture.

Zadkine is immortalized by his neighbor, photographer Marc Vaux, in his new workshop.

Meets Brancusi, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jacques Lipchitz, Pablo Picasso, Antoine Bourdelle, Leopold Survage and Robert Delaunay.

Henri Matisse visits Zadkine's workshop.


Exhibition at the Freie Sezession in Berlin, at De Onafhankelijken in Amsterdam (Holland) and at

the Allied Artists Association in London.

Thanks to collector Paul Rodocanachi, he can settle in a workshop in the rue Rousselet.

Becomes friends with Modigliani.


Works as a stretcher-bearer on the front. Produces drawings and watercolors dealing with war.

Zadkine is discharged in 1917.

He says he is 'bodily and spiritually' ruined by the war.

After his stay in the Epernay hospital he recovers in Bruniquel, in the southwest of France.


Makes a series of 20 war etchings.

Goes on with his cubic work and puts hollow and full forms against each other.

He makes contrasting profiles.


Gets married on the 14 th of August in Bruniquel (France) with his neighbour from rue Rousselet, Valentine Prax (1897-1981) and with Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968) as witness.

The first Zadkine retrospective takes place in his workshop (rue Rousselet 35).


The first monograph on Zadkine's work is published by the editor of the Italian newspaper Valori Plastici.

It is written by Maurice Raynal, one of the few French admirers of Zadkine's new cubist work.

Most of the time, Zadkine makes deconstructed stone or wooden statues, which strike by their strongly geometric, closed forms.

Produces numerous watercolors and gouaches.


The museum of Grenoble buys the golded wooden statue 'Le Fauve', a marble female head and a gouache.


Several trips to Italy.

Exhibition in Takenodai gallery in Tokyo Japan.


Retrospective in Barbazanges gallery in the Parisian rue de la Boetie.


The Zadkines settle in the white house behind the rue díAssas ('La folie d'Assas' as Zadkine called it), it will become the Zadkine museum after the death of Valentine Prax.

First retrospective in London.


Andre De Ridder publishes a monograph on Zadkine.

The latter travels to Brussels for a commission and stays in Deurne, Holland with his friend

Hendrik Wiegersma.


In his work, a new, agile and baroque style emerges, taking shape after the Second World War.

Exhibition of gouaches in the Arts Club of Chicago.


Exhibitions in Chicago, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and New York.

First trip to the United States in 1937.


Buys a big house in Les Arques (France), in the Lot, where he works in the summertime.


The city of Paris buys the three meter high wooden statue Orphee for the Petit Palais.

It is given a spot in the new Musee d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris shortly after.


During the Second World War, Zadkine flees to the United States.

He finds a workshop in New York.

Exhibits in Wildenstein gallery.

Stays in Arizona. From 1944 on, he teaches twice a week at the Art Students League.

Teaches for a while in North Carolina.

In September 1945, he comes back from America 'sick, sad and penniless'.


Exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam.

Retrospective in the Parisian Musée National d'Art moderne.

Zadkine receives the Big Sculpture Price at the Biennal event of Venice.

Exhibition in the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam.

It is there that Zadkine presents for the first time a draft of La ville detruite.

Gives classes until 1958 at the Parisian Academie de la Grande Chaumiere.


The six-meter-high war monument La ville detruite (The destroyed city)

is placed on the 15 th of May at the Leuvehaven in Rotterdam, Holland.


1955 - 1960
Zadkine makes sculptures dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh.

Presents five exhibitions, which cause stirs in Canada, where he gives lectures,

as well as in the United States.

The travelling exhibition is then presented in Seattle and San Francisco.

He has innumerable exhibitions, notably in six Japanese cities.

Devotes much time to graphical work.


The Monument Van Gogh is unveiled in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

Van Gogh statues are made during the following years for Zundert, Holland and Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France.

Big exhibition in the London Tate Gallery.


First exhibition of tapestries (Galerie Lacloche, Paris).


Begins the third version of La Demeure, commissioned by the Netherlands Bank.

This statue is designed to be placed against the frontage of the central office, situated on the Amsterdam Frederiksplein.

The statue Les deux Freres Van Gogh is unveiled in Zundert, Holland, Vincent van Gogh's Place of birth.


1965 - 1966
The photograph book Le Monde secret de Zadkine vu par D. Buchanan, featuring 25 poems by Zadkine, and the album La Foret humaine, with its 18 lithographs by Zadkine, are published.

Big retrospective in the Kunsthaus of Zurich Switzerland.


Ossip Zadkine dies on the 25th of November in a Parisian hospital.

He is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery.