A life of workshops
The sculptor Ossip Zadkine and the painter Valentine Prax, his wife, spent almost forty years together, from 1928 to 1967, in the house, workshops and garden on rue d’Assas. Forty years is precisely the age celebrated this year by the Zadkine museum, which opened in 1982 in this same place, thanks to the bequest of Valentine Prax.
To celebrate this anniversary, the museum is presenting an exhibition that takes the visitor to the heart of the studio of the two artists, which, for forty years, was the place of life and creation of the couple of artists. Nearly a hundred works make up the route of the exhibition, which includes a fine selection of masterpieces by Zadkine, but also rarely shown paintings by Prax and numerous previously unseen photographs, some by great photographers, such as André Kertész or Marc Worth. It occupies all the rooms of the museum in a renewed scenography, which evokes “the spirit of the workshop”.
From the first studios that Zadkine filled with his sculptures upon his arrival in Paris to the studio in the garden that the sculptor had built after the war, the route of the exhibition follows a chrono-thematic principle. An introductory part recounts the first workshops in which Zadkine lived and worked, in the heart of the Montparnasse district. The second chapter is devoted to the house-workshop on rue d’Assas where he moved in 1928 with Valentine Prax, whom he married in 1920.
Both a physical place and a mental space, as much a nest, a shelter as an observation post, this foyer-studio unfolds as a habitat for the works. Scene of creation, it also serves as a framework for the memoirs of Zadkine and Prax, and a setting for the many photographs that are part of the museum’s archives today. The third and final section offers an immersion in the process of creation and the bustle of workshop life.