A place to witness the golden age of Montparnasse

At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists left Montmartre for Montparnasse, where they found cheaper studios: Modigliani, Soutine, Foujita, Chagall, Kisling, Léger, Lipchitz, Picasso and many others came to set up in the district, leading to the creation of the famous Paris School of which Zadkine is a representative.

 “Zadkine is one of the curious apparitions of Montparnasse, born in Smolensk [sic] in Russia and living in Paris for fifteen years, he has managed to physically assume the international, constantly “on-the-move” character typical of the inhabitants of the artistic quarter of Paris. Guillaume Apollinaire, the poet of the unexpected and the picturesque, used to say that Montparnasse was the centre of the world. Apollinaire was exaggerating perhaps, but for those who lived there, Montparnasse was certainly the capital of Paris,” wrote Tristan Tzara.


The golden age of Montparnasse was characterised by artistic exuberance, cosmopolitanism and its nightlife. Artists, collectors and dealers gathered in the district’s many cafés.


“I visited La Rotonde every day”  Zadkine reported;  there he entertained a friendship with Modigliani, with whom he shared “the lean years" [in 1918], "we used to sit on bistro terraces, Modi made portraits of people at neighbouring tables which he gave them to earn a franc”; in the café of Le Dôme he met Picasso who invited him to his home to see his paintings, Survage who showed him his “Villes”, Delaunay and Brancusi; at the Closerie des Lilas, a meeting place for poets and writers, he made the acquaintance of Apollinaire and Baron Oettingen who accompanied his brother, the painter Serge Férat and Henry Miller; after the war, Zadkine used to meet his friends in Le Select.