Tête d’homme

Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967)
1924
Alabaster
38 x 22 x 20 cm

In 2012 in Canada, we fell upon an impressive alabaster sculpture by Ossip Zadkine, Tête d’Homme.
After a significant period of time, we were thrilled to discover that the very head was the sculpture that had been already mentioned as belonging to the collection of famous cosmetics entrepreneur, Helena Rubinstein in the catalogue of the Zadkine exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels in 1933.
In fact, there was no photograph nor any description of this work in the exhibition catalogue, only its title, the provenance and a wrong date (1932 instead of 1924) were mentioned. It is solely after recognizing the Tête d’Homme on a photograph of the intérieur of Helena Rubinstein’s home, together with a sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, that we were able to identify the alabaster head.
It is interesting to note that the sculpture had been modified by Zadkine some time after it was photographed by Marc Vaux in his studio in 1924. As a matter of fact, we can see on a photograph of its exhibition at the Galerie Centaure in Brussels in 1927 that its neck had been shortened by 4 cm and that the hair had also been recarved. These modifications must have had been executed right before its acquisition by the American business-celebrity.
It had never, until 1966, left her private hands until the Helena Rubinstein sale that took place at Parke Bernet in New York.