Pensées

Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967)
1936
Terracotta
37 x 30 x 33 cm

Pensées, the large head in terracotta of 1936 came to us as an unhoped discovery.

A discovery in the broadest sense as it was previously unreferenced and unidentified. Unhoped since we came across the sculpture rather incidentally although always with our eyes widely open.

Pensées has been acquired in Brussels in the late 1930’s by a Belgian art critic, directly from the artist. The acquirer/ collector soon after leaves Europe for the United States of America carrying with him Pensées as well as Femme à la Colombe, another terracotta by Zadkine. These two sculptures would accompany him and his wife all along their lives and would, more precisely, be displayed with pride in their living room until the wife’s death in 2015.

This terracotta head has most probably been realised in Brussels when Zadkine, in the 1930s, would frequently visit the Belgian capital as he was commissioned a great number of bas-reliefs by architects such as Adrien Blomme (Cinema Métropole, private villas, boutiques) and had important exhibitions to prepare, notably at the Galerie Centaure as well as a major retrospective at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles in 1933. At that time, the artist would be using the ovens of the studio Laduron to finalize his terracotta and his bas-reliefs, we can assume that Pensées also comes out from that same studio.

Until today, only 6 terracotta sculptures of heads from the 1930’s have been outnumbered. Some of them originate from the casts of sculptures in order to make small editions of them in terracotta (maximum 3 copies).  As opposed to these, Pensées doesn’t derive from a cast. Ossip Zadkine has directly modelled the clay. It is therefore a unique piece.