Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)
Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)

Vierge à l'Enfant

Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)
Vierge à l'Enfant
ebony handpainted by the artist in places
129.5 cm high (incl. the small stone base)
Executed in 1953.
Acquired from the artist by Mr. H.J. Blijdenstein, Enschede, 1955, thence by descent to the present owner.
I. Jianou, Zadkine, Paris 1964, cat.no. 90, ill. (as: Marie et l'enfant)
I. Jianou, 'Zadkine l'artiste et le poète', in: Journal Artcurial, May 1979, inv.no. 360 (dated 1949) and inv.no. 385 (dated 1953), p. 90.
S. Lecombre, Ossip Zadkine, L'oeuvre sculpté, Paris 1994, inv.no. 444, p. 504.
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Neuen Darmstädter Sezession mit Ossip Zadkine, 6 September-11 October 1953, cat.no. 22.
Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum, Ossip Zadkine, 28 November-30 January 1955, cat.no. 48 (where dated 1953).

Brought to you by

Else Valk
Else Valk

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Vierge à l'Enfant is an outstanding and unique example of Zadkine's passion for wood carving. The standing figure was a central motif throughout the artist's career and these works have been described as 'true poems in stone, wood or alabaster'. As the art critic Janou states: 'These statues stare at us with their whole bodies. A quiver of sensuality, desire and purity animates the slightly rounded surfaces of these young tall, slim, lissom, highly polished and occasionally lacquered bodies, over which light fairly streams'. (See: I. Jianou, Zadkine, Paris 1964, pp. 54-56).

In the present work one can see how well the artist explored the qualities of the ebony. In carving, smoothing and polishing the surface, Zadkine brings out the best of the material properties of the wood. As Jianou further states: 'In his urge to select the medium best suited to his specific mood and artistic concept, he has used in his work such varied items as wood, stone, marble, sandstone, granite, quartz, porphyry, alabaster, crystal, lead, aluminium, bronze, terracotta and stanniferous potter's clay. His thorough acquaintance with the structure of wood has determined his preference for elm, ebony and acacia (...). This great wealth and variety of materials testify to the importance attached to choice of materials and to perfect mastery of the sculptor's craft. 'I remain a craftsman', Zadkine has often pointed out, 'a worker caring for excellence in execution, apart from the idea and originality'.

In a letter dated 30 April 1955 Zadkine writes to the first owner, Mr. H.J. Blijdenstein, about the present lot: 'Regarding the way of placing the ebony sculpture permit me to advice to place it in such a way that the light should come on it from sidewise. You will then realize that the sculpture is very much alive. Also please do not keep it where the fan is all the time. Wood is very sensitive to sun rays and prefers to avoid it.'

To be sold with correspondence between Ossip Zadkine and Mr. H.J. Blijdenstein.

More from Impressionist and Modern Art

View All
View All