French (born in Russia), 1890–1967
The Poet, 1954
222 x 84 x 75.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John A. MacAulay, Q.C.
After moving to Paris in 1910 where he established a studio, the Russian-born sculptor Ossip Zadkine became part of the Paris avant-garde, exploring both Cubist and Futurist elements in his work. Although he found inspiration in the classical work of Auguste Rodin, he remained fascinated with abstraction and the idea of organic space and dynamics, which drew him to the Secessionist activities in Berlin. At this time, Zadkine was introduced to African sculpture, which brought a new energy and lyrical freedom to his sculpted forms. The Poet was produced shortly after Zadkine was awarded the sculpture prize at the Venice Biennale in 1950. Literary and musical symbolism informs the large-scale bronze figure in the WAG collection. A poetic text is inscribed into the right side of the poet who holds a mandolin and a sheet of music, all of which offer references to an artistic metamorphosis.