Lot 3258 - A197 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday, 02. July 2021, 05.00 PM

OSSIP ZADKINE

(Witebsk 1890–1967 Paris)
Les trois sœurs ou les trois grâces ou les trois belles ou les trois amies. 1926.
Bronze, dark brown patina. Cast from 1926.
Signed and inscribed lower right: O.ZADKINE / ORIGINAL.
53 × 41 × 22 cm.

We would like to thank the Zadkine Research Center for their assistance.

Provenance:
- Gallery Livingood, Paris, presumably directly from the artist's estate.
- Art trade Tjerk Wiegersma, Deurne Netherlands, acquired from the above gallery in 1972.
- Private collection, Netherlands, acquired from the above gallery in 1972.
- Wiegersma Fine Art, Brussels, acquired from the above heirs in 2016.
- Private collection, Geneva, acquired from the above gallery in 2016.

Exhibited:
- Paris 1926, Salon des Tuileries, no. 2116.
- Venice 1932, XVIII Biennale, Italian Pavillion, Hall 13, May–November 1932, no. 7.
- Brussels 1933, Palais des Beaux-Arts, January 1933, no. 67 or no. 85.
- New York 1937, Brummer Gallery, 25 January–20 March 1937, no. 15 or no. 30.
- Paris 1937, Maître de l'art indépendant 1895–1937, Petit Palais, June–October 1937, no. 12 or no.19.
- Darmstadt 1953, Neue Darmstädter Sezession mit Ossip Zadkine, Mathildenhöhe, 6 December–11 October 1953, no. 39.
- Cologne/ Dusseldorf/Berlin/Amsterdam 1954, Zadkine, Travelling exhibition of the Gallery Czwiklitzer, no. 10 (with ill.).
- Canada/USA 1956/57, Ossip Zadkine, Travelling exhibition: The Art Gallery of Toronto, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, October 1956–July 1957, no. 3 (dated 1924, with ill.).
- Paris 1958, Ossip Zadkine, Maison de la Pensée Francaise, July–October 1958, no. 52.
- Japan 1959/60, Ossip Zadkine, Travelling exhibition of the Gallery Fujikawa, autumn 1959–spring 1960, no. 20 (dated 1927, with ill.).

Literature:
- Sylvain Lecombre: Ossip Zadkine. L'Œuvre sculpté, Paris 1994, p. 220, no. 167 (with ill.).
- L' Art vivant, Paris, October 1926, p. 873.
- Selection Chronique de la vie artistique. Cahier 3, Antwerp 1928, p. 118.
- André de Ridder: Zadkine, Paris 1929, p. 21 (dated 1927).
- Pierre Humbourg: Zadkine. Collection "Les Sculpteurs nouveaux", Paris 1930, p. 63.
- Presse et revues: Art et Decoration, Paris, October 1930, p. 119.
- Winnipeg Tribune, 22 February 1957.
- Kolner Leben, Cologne, 25 March 1960.
- A. M. Hammacher: Zadkine, Paris 1961, p. 11 (dated 1929).
- Kieler Nachrichten, 20 June 1961.
- T. Spiteris: Zadkine, Milan 1966, p. 8.
- G. Marussi: Zadkine, in: Le Arti, Milan, June 1967, p. 31.
- Anita Belobek-Hammer: Zum 100. Geburtstag Ossip Zadkines, in: Bildende Kunst, Berlin 1990, ed. 7.
- Ionel Jianou, "Zadkine l'artiste et le poète", in: Journal Artcurial, Paris 1979, no. 141.
- Sylvain Lecombre: Ossip Zadkine. LŒuvre sculpté, Paris 1994, no. 167.

‘Les Trois Grâces’ was created in 1926. Living in Paris, Zadkine was inspired by the various art movements colliding in the city in the 1910s and 1920s: Cubism, Expressionism and Futurism. Before 1926, the artist had mainly focused his efforts on creating sculptures in stone and wood. For the exhibition in the Salon des Tuileries in 1926, he decided to show only two bronze figures rather than the materials typically expected of him. One of the bronzes was ‘Les Trois Grâces'.
The sculpture presented here is a decisive work in the artist's oeuvre. Up until that time, his practice of working the surfaces of stone or wood had created works that related more to the category of relief. His figures remained dependent on the block of stone or wood. The technique of bronze opened up a new field of possibilities for him in which he could create complex and open compositions through modelling, as seen in ‘Les Trois Grâces’. Typical elements such as the interplay of convex-concave planes and the incised lines on the surface are examples of the sculptural work of the Cubist-Expressionist artist and are also beautifully demonstrated in the present sculpture.

The author of Zadkine’s catalogue raisonné, Sylvaine Lecombre, writes about our sculpture: “In 'Les Trois Grâces', the gaps allow the figures to unfold freely in space. Zadkine did not feel comfortable with Cubism until he was able to apply its formal principles to his own subjects and artistic vision. In this group of three intimately connected women, the concave sections, the sudden breaks in the joints, the flat surface of a face all lose their severity. The aggressive aspects of Cubism are softened, and its mechanical aspects are reclaimed by a sense of humanity” (translated from French in: Ossip Zadkine. L'oeuvre sculpté, p. 199).

Zadkine's sculptural oeuvre is shaped by a preoccupation with classical antiquity. His innate fascination with these early examples of sculpture often led him to explore mythological subjects, such as in the present work employing the Greek motif of the ‘Three Graces’. Groups of figures are a common recurring element with Zadkine and appear in many variations. He revisited the subject of the ‘Three Graces’, for example, in 1950 in a modified and slightly larger version.

Five bronze casts exist of 'Les Trois Grâces’, four of which are later, some after 1961. The example presented at auction is the first of the casts and the only early cast from 1926 that stood in the Salon de Tuileries. Early casts by Zadkine are extremely rare and are scarcely found on the art market. In the 1920s and 1930s, Zadkine often numbered his sculptures only upon sale. The present example remains unnumbered, while the examples two to five are numbered. This suggests that Zadkine was particularly fond of this first cast and did not wish to sell it, the reason for which it long remained in the artist's possession.

Three of the four other examples are located in museums; the fourth is in a private collection in the Netherlands.

CHF 200 000 / 300 000

€ 186 920 / 280 370

Sold for CHF 463 900 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.