The Paris debut

1910-915 Paris where "you can really become an artist"

In December 1910, Zadkine enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. After six months, he left. The discovery of Egyptian sculpture in the Louvre and the shock of a Roman head persuaded him to "search for life in the simplification or accentuation" of forms. Like other sculptors of his generation – Amadeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska –, Zadkine went back to the living sources of archaism. The only necessity? "To place oneself at the service of the wood” or the stone without putting on “the academic uniform". A manifesto for the technique of direct carving which Zadkine practised from 1911 onwards, hidden away in the “Brie district” in his studio in la Ruche.

In 1912 he moved into 114, Rue de Vaugirard, nearer to the Vavin crossroads and the café of La Rotonde, the magnetic field of modern art. He met Matisse and Picasso, spoke to Apollinaire and shared “the lean times" with Modigliani. 


The Salon d’automne of 1913 earned him his first collector, Paul Rodocanachi, who acquired several works including Samson and Delilah and The Holy Family and found him a new larger and sunny studio at 35, rue Rousselet.