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    Sale 7701

    Impressionist/Modern Art, Evening Sale

    4 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 34

    Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)

    Torse de femme

    Price Realised  


    Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)
    Torse de femme
    signed 'OZadkine' (on the lower left edge)
    Height: 33 7/8 in. (86 cm.)
    Executed circa 1925; this work is unique

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    Torse de femme is an outstanding and unique example of Zadkine's passion for stone carving. The sculpture marks a period in the early 1920s in which a notable evolution became apparent in Zadkine's art. Having just returned from serving in World War I, the artist would chose to counteract his damaged confidence in humanity from the brutality of war in his art. His work would develop significantly from the severity of his former Cubist tendencies in order to harness a more expressive and contemplative form in his sculpture. It was in this decade that Zadkine would explore his obsession with using the human figure to represent the purity, spirituality and compassion of mankind through an almost archaic representation of form. Zadkine himself stated of such reductive representation, 'It is not a question of primitive art or ignorance, but of emotion expressed in sober language, scorning all pompous and academic tradition, radiating instead the poignancy and tragedy of human life' (Zadkine cited in, op. cit., p. 32).

    The bold, gradual planes and the elongated, curved lines lend the sheer volume of Torse de femme a life beyond its stone constitution. And yet an awareness of the rugged medium is emphasised by the rough upper edge of the bust, evoking fragmented classical sculpture as well as the few subtle imperfections to the surface, surely left intentionally by the artist. By directly carving into stone, Zadkine imbues his sculptures, as did his peers Brancusi and Modigliani, with a profound simplicity. Indeed, his aim was to release the attitudes and structures of his figures from within his materials in order to stress their elemental qualities, stating, 'I remain a craftsman, a worker caring for excellence in execution, apart from the idea and the originality' (Zadkine cited in, op. cit., p. 54). The resulting understanding of the human form in Torse de femme, one of calmness and tranquillity is a tribute to Zadkine's ability to express through his sculpture his peaceful perseverance as a humanist.

    Unique stone sculptures carved by Zadkine during the early 1920s can also be found in international public collections, including the Musée national d'Art moderne, Paris, the Musée Zadkine, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington and the Art Gallery of South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

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    Wiegersma collection, The Netherlands, by 1926.
    Acquired by the family of the present owners circa 1970.

    Pre-Lot Text



    'Ossip Zadkine, chronique de la vie artistique', in Sélection, Paris, 1928, no. 3, p. 38 (dated '1925').
    A. de Ridder, 'Zadkine', in Les Chronique du jour, Paris, June 1929 (illustrated pl. 5, dated '1925').
    D. Chevalier, 'Ossip Zadkine', in L'âge nouveau, Paris, May 1949 (dated '1927').
    I. Jianou, 'Zadkine l'artiste et let pote', in L'oeil, Paris, May 1979, no. 128 (dated '1925').
    S. Lecombre, Ossip Zadkine, L'oeuvre sculpté, Paris, 1994, no. 159 (illustrated p. 196).


    Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Zadkine, January 1933, no. 62 (dated '1927').
    Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Zadkine, April - June 1948, no. 4.
    Rotterdam, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Zadkine, December 1949, no. 5.
    Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum, Zadkine, November 1954 - January 1955, no. 5 (dated '1925').
    Duerne, Museum Dinghuis, Zadkine, January - March 1968, no. 5 (dated '1925').