La mariée

Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967)
c. 1932
Terracotta
Height: 42 cm

Here we are in 2016 in front of a stunning terracotta head by Zadkine, that was until then unknown. 
We knew very little about it but hadn’t the slightest doubt about its authenticity as Zadkine’s hand is so blatant without overdoing it. Although this type of head is rather rare in the artist’s production, we could make some parallels with other sculptures and notably with Pensées, another unique terracotta head that we had recently discovered.

The research on its provenance and its peregrinations have, as far as they are concerned, stressed the need for an effective investigation, that is still in progress in to order glean more details.
The starting point was the name of its last owner, Vandevelde (without any mention of his first name).
We then asked the help of someone who got to us for the identification of another work by Zadkine some years before. This person knew that his family, and more specifically his mother was close to the Vandevelde family in the 1930’s. Indeed, the two families were linked by several weddings and had in common two companies, one named “Chantier Houiller” and the other “Porte-plume”. They also commissioned various times the construction of villas and shops to the architect Adrien Blomme, who at that time (end of 1920-1930’s in Belgium) frequently invited Zadkine to create bas-reliefs. – including for its own house avenue de la Nation in 1929 (today the avenue Franklin Roosevelt) and for the monumental work of the cinema Le Métropole in 1932.

In 1932, the industrial Aimé Vandevelde commissions for his villa located in the North of Brussels, a bas-relief to Zadkine representing Hercules and the Nemean lion (cf. I. Jianou 1964, p. 90). We suppose that he made the acquisition of La Mariée during the same period. Luckily, our contact kindly asked Aimé Vandevelde’s grand-daughter if she had any remembrance of it. She replied in the affirmative indicating she always saw the head of Zadkine on the fireplace of her grand-father’s large property in the outskirts of Brussels, in Neerom Hof, Wolvertem (this property of 25Ha has today been converted into a public park). Aimé Vandevelde’s grand-daughter ignores however what happened to the sculpture after the death of her grand-father in 1964.