Ossip Zadkine



Not on display

Ossip Zadkine 1890–1967
Original title
Object: 1918 × 533 × 464 mm, 98kg (Gross 209kg)
Presented by F.H. Mayor as executor of the late Richard Wyndham 1954

Display caption

A Russian émigré, Zadkine arrived in Paris in 1909 and became associated with Cubism. In the 1920s, he became interested in arts outside the academic canon, favouring the elongated forms of Romanesque statuary. He made large-scale wooden sculptures drawing on techniques of Russian folk decoration, and exemplifying the immediacy of ‘direct carving’. Venus embodies the impact of these varied sources, so that the classical ideal of beauty is invigorated by raw simplification.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Ossip Zadkine 1890-1967

N06226 Vénus (Venus) c.1922-4

Inscribed 'ZADKINE' on base
Acacia, 75 3/4 x 21 x 18 1/4 (192.5 x 50.5 x 46.5)
Presented by F.H. Mayor as Executor of the late Richard Wyndham 1954
Prov: Richard Wyndham, London (purchased from the artist through the Galerie Hodebert, Paris)
Exh: Zadkine, Galerie Hodebert, Paris, February-March 1925 (no catalogue traced); Gouache Drawings and Sculpture by Ossip Zadkine, Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, November-December 1928 (11), dated 1925; Zadkine, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, January 1933 (42), dated 1923; Works by Some Past Students of Chelsea and Polytechnic Schools of Art, Chelsea School of Art, London, March-April 1965 (31), wrongly titled 'Eve'
Lit: Ionel Jianou, Zadkine (Paris 1964), p.82, repr. pl.94 (dated 1923)
Repr: L'Art Vivant, No.43, 1 October 1926, p.742; Pierre Humbourg and Waldémar George, Ossip Zadkine (Sélection, Antwerp 1928), p.29 (dated 1920); André de Ridder, Zadkine (Paris 1929), pl.6 (dated 1925)

The artist wrote on 2 October 1954 that 'Venus' was carved in an acacia tree in about 1920-1. Richard Wyndham who used to visit him in his workshop at Caylus (Tarn-et-Garonne), where he roughed out his wood carvings, saw it and expressed a wish to buy it. However, as it was still unfinished, Zadkine told him to wait until he saw it in its completed form in an exhibition. It was later shown in his first exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Barbazanges in, he thought, 1922-3, and Wyndham took it from the exhibition to England. He added: 'The "Venus" is most probably of 1922-23. It was one of the first works in which I reacted against cubism'.

Not only does he suggest two different dates in his letter (1920-1 and 1922-3), but the sculpture has been exhibited and reproduced with the dates 1920, 1923 and 1925. The exhibition referred to was most probably his one-man exhibition at the Galerie Hodebert (or Hodebert-Barbazanges) in February-March 1925.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.768-9, reproduced p.768

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