The Holy Family

    The Holy Family

  • Purchase by the City of Paris with funds from the Valentine Prax bequest, 1994
  • [1912 - 1913]
  • Gypsum mortar and pigments
  • Inv. MZS 408
  • Musée Zadkine
  • Room 2

This work in cement was produced by Zadkine on the basis of a composition which can no longer be located today, but which the archives say and the old photographs indicate was created in oak. This cement work was achieved by Zadkine by moulding the wood directly, of which the work presented here constitutes a sort of imprint. Not being signed, the identity of its creator remained unknown until 1993.

Zadkine had just discovered, not far from his studio in the Rue Rousselet, the existence of a saw mill from which he could obtain wooden blocks for carving. "For a very modest sum, I was supplied with blocks of wood which still had their roots attached. It was from one of these blocks that I carved the Holy Family and several other sculptures". This composition is, with several others, a direct echo of the symbolist aesthetic, imbued with Russian influences, in which we can sense here Zadkine was still immersed. The sinuosity of the forms and the stylisation of certain anatomical details are related to this aesthetic. This work was part of one of the first acquisitions by Paul Rodocanachi, a collector of Greek origin.