* 1890 Smolensk
† 1967 Paris
The French-Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine was born in Vitebsk on July 14, 1890. He spends his childhood years in Smolensk. His parents send to his mother's home him in North England in 1906. He attends evening courses at the municipal art school in Sunderland. Finally, Zadkine goes to London, where he does occasional commission works as a carver of ornaments in several furniture workshops. He studies at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London as of 1906, where he mostly does wooden plastics. He studies the ancient sculptures in the British Museum.
As of 1909 Ossip Zadkine lives in Paris. At first he attends the École des Beaux-Arts for a half year, he works in the studio of the sculptor Jean Antoine Injalbert. Ossip Zadkine partakes in the "Salon des Indépendants" in 1911 with some sculptures and drawings. He meets the leading avant-garde artists in Paris, and is acquainted with Giorgio de Chirico, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, Constantin Brancusi, and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. In 1912 he moves into an apartment on the Montparnasse. He regularly attends the philosophical circle of the Greek Paul Rodocanachi, who becomes his first collector and patron.
Zadkine volunteers as a paramedic in World War I, however, the impressions of the war get to him both mentally and physically. He marries the painter Valentine Prax in 1920. A year later he receives French citizenship.
Ossip Zadkine goes on a journey to Greece in 1931, in order to study the ancient sculptures. He also encounters the Byzantine mosaic art there.
In 1937 he travels to the USA for the first time on occasion of the opening of the gallery Brummer in New York. During World War II he immigrates to the USA, however, the country remains strange to him and he does not find inspiration. Meeting Marcel Duchamps and Max Ernst is decisive for him. In 1944 he teaches twice a week at the Art Students League in New York. A year later he returns to Paris. Numerous exhibitions take place, which are his international breakthrough. The same year he is appointed professor at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. As of 1962 he teaches courses at the École des Beaux-Arts. As of the late 1950s he commits himself more and more to his graphic work.
Ossip Zadkine dies in a hospital in Paris on November 25, 1967, he is buried on Montparnasse cemetery in Paris.