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

Toréador

Details
Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)
Toréador
signed with the initials ‘O.Z.’ (on the lower left side)
stone
Height: 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm.)
Executed in 1918; this work is unique
Provenance
Private collection, Belgium, by whom acquired directly from the artist in the 1930s, and thence by descent to the present owner.
Literature
M. Raynal, Ossip Zadkine, Rome, 1921 (illustrated pl. 26; dated '1917' and titled 'Le matador').
Humanisme, Paris, May 1992 (illustrated).
I. Jianou, ‘Zadkine l’artiste et le poète’, in Journal Artcurial, Paris, May 1979, no. 93 (dated '1921').
S. Lecombre, Ossip Zadkine, L’oeuvre sculpté, Paris, 1994, no. 58, p. 103 (illustrated).
Exhibited
(Probably) Toulouse, Galerie Chappe-Lautier, Exposition des œuvres du peintre Henry Ramey et du sculpteur Ossip Zadkine, October - November 1918, no. 3.
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Ossip Zadkine, January 1933, no. 23, p. 15 (dated '1921').
Knokke-le-Zoute, Casino communal, Ossip Zadkine, June - September 1963, no. 139.
Arles, Musée Réattu, Zadkine: Bois et Pierres, Gouaches des années 20, March - June 1992, no. 10 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Paris, Couvent des Cordeliers, June - September 1992.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

Lot Essay

Toréador is a unique and striking example of Ossip Zadkine’s mastery of stone carving, demonstrating the sculptor’s ability at infusing this inanimate material with a potent sense of energy and vigour. Executed in 1918, this work was created the year after Zadkine had been discharged from the French army, having served as a stretcher-bearer and later as an interpreter in the First World War. Returning to sculpture for the first time in four years, Zadkine depicted the human form in various guises as he carved directly into stone and wood. His work from this period fused his cubist tendencies with an increasingly expressive and emotive visual power. With their roughly textured surfaces, angular planes and stylised forms, works such as Toréador embody a commanding vitality, demonstrating a defiant, courageous form of humanity following the needless brutality of war. Toréador was most likely included in one of the first exhibitions of the artist’s work held in Toulouse in 1918, as well as in the first museum retrospective of the artist in Brussels in 1933, which was met with great critical acclaim. Never before seen at auction, Toréador has remained in the same collection since it was acquired directly from the artist in the 1930s.  

Powerfully ascending from its plinth, Toréador is composed of planes of rugged stone that the artist has chiselled and carved to create the statuesque form of the toreador, his neck turned as he glances over his shoulder in a pose of powerful vitality. Zadkine has chiselled directly into the stone, leaving the surface in its raw and unaltered form and yet creating areas of highly expressive detail: the elegant, almond shaped eyes, nose and mouth of the figure’s face create an expression of unmoving resolve, while the undulating, powerful musculature of his back heightens the raw masculine vitality that emanates from this sculpture. Like his contemporaries, Amedeo Modigliani, whom he met in 1918, the same year that he executed Toréador, and Constantin Brancusi, Zadkine harnessed the inherent qualities of his materials, imbuing his work with an elemental purity and a profound simplicity. Fusing a primitivist approach with his own distinctive artistic vocabulary, Toréador, with its highly textured surface and visual dynamism is a complete encapsulation of this aim; a compelling and striking example of Zadkine’s distinctive approach to sculpture. 

Zadkine’s unique, carved stone sculptures from this pivotal moment of his career are extremely rare and reside in several major public collections across the world, including the Musée Zadkine, Paris; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

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