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Eugène Zak (1884-1926)
THE SCHOOL OF PARIS A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
Eugène Zak (1884-1926)

Les marionnettes

Details
Eugène Zak (1884-1926)
Les marionnettes
signed 'Eug.Zak' (lower left)
oil on canvas
23 7/8 x 29 in. (60.7 x 73.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1924

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Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan

Lot Essay

Eugène Zak was one of the most prominent Polish artists active in the circle of the École de Paris. His characteristic style is an amalgam of various historical and contemporary influences: from the Nabis and the Renaissance at the beginning of his career, through neoclassicism and art déco, to the expressionist tendencies present amongst the Parisian group. Even though Zak did not follow any of the main contemporary movements, such as cubism, one can easily spot references to works of Cezanne, or Picasso. Zak developed a specific painting technique based on using matt-tone paint. The artist never worked on life studies, creating only imaginary compositions. Portraiture was one of the most important themes in his works, where Zak would simplify and beautify his figures, giving them universal features. Such is the Garçon dans son manteau vert a large and vivid portrait of a jovial young man in brightly coloured costume. Les marionnettes shows a happy family watching the puppet theatre in a domestic interior. A larger, almost identical version is held at the collection of Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (Les marionnettes, 1922). These outstanding works represent Zak’s later and most celebrated period, which is characterized by the neoclassic turn, vastly popular at the time in Poland.

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