OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)
OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)
OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)
4 More
OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)
7 More
OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)

L'oiseau d'or

OSSIP ZADKINE (1888-1967)
L'oiseau d'or
signed 'ZADKINE' (on the right side of the base); inscribed with the foundry mark 'GRANDHOMME-ANDRO Fondeurs. Paris' (on the back of the base)
polished bronze
Height: 33 1/2 in. (85.2 cm.) (without base)
Height: 38 3/4 in. (98.5 cm.) (with base)
Conceived in 1924; this bronze version cast by 1925
N. Wiegersma, Belgium (acquired from the artist, 1925).
Private collection (by descent from the above).
Anon. (acquired from the above); sale, Christie's, London, 21 June 2011, lot 89.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owners.
A. Salmon, "La Sculpture vivante," L'Art vivant, 1 October 1926, p. 742 (another cast illustrated).
I. Jianou, "Zadkine l'artiste et le poète," Journal Artcurial, 1979, no. 95 (another cast illustrated).
S. Lecombre, Ossip Zadkine, L'oeuvre sculpté, Paris, 1994, p. 182, no. 139 (painted and gilded plaster version illustrated).

Brought to you by

Sarah El-Tamer
Sarah El-Tamer Vice President, Specialist, Head of Day Sales

Lot Essay

Working in the aftermath of the First World War, many artists sought a return to classical sources in order to overcome the brutality of their own time. Greek and Roman sculpture was considered the pinnacle of refinement and beauty, and classical forms became a frequent theme among avant-garde sculptors. Conceived in 1924, Ossip Zadkine’s imposing L'oiseau d'or is among his most remarkable conceptions, executed in the classical style while incorporating modernist elements.
Zadkine had settled in Paris in 1909 from his native Vitebsk in Belarus, and was drawn into the magnetic milieu of foreign artists which included Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz and Alexander Archipenko. This new generation of sculptors considered Constantin Brancusi their spiritual father, and many of them shared his belief that the sculpture medium had lost its way, notably under the prevailing influence of Auguste Rodin. As Lipchitz would later summarize, “sculpture was sick, and the sickness was due to Rodin and his influence. Too much modeling in clay, too much ‘mud’” (J. Lipchitz, Amedeo Modigliani, New York, 1952). On his arrival to Paris, Zadkine would have been aware of Brancusi’s Maiastra sculptures, executed in 1910-1912. Taking the Romanian fairy-tale creature with magical powers as its subject, these were among Brancusi’s first sculptures depicting the abstracted form of a bird.
By the early 1920s, Zadkine had left behind the severity of the cubist style as one which he felt afforded too little scope for human emotion. Unlike Modigliani, who would remain committed to the idea of carving directly into a block of wood or stone as Brancusi had advocated, Zadkine’s preference shifted towards casting in bronze. Released from the restrictions of working directly into a pre-defined block, the forms found in the artist’s bronzes from this date are distinctly more fluid in conception. This newfound fluidity lends an expressive force to L'oiseau d'or in its subtle tapering form and the relationship of curved to hard-edge surfaces, while the golden plumage of the bird is expressed in the reflective surface of the bronze.

More from Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

View All
View All