First retrospective in Brussels in 1933

This first retrospective in a museum displayed the full extent of Zadkine’s work over two decades; with 254 works assembled together, it was an exhibition on a grand scale: 139 sculptures, 115 gouaches, watercolours and drawings. 41 wooden sculptures in a variety of species (oak, elm, acacia, beech, box, pear, walnut, ebony and cherry…), 33 stone sculptures, 36 bronzes and 22 clay and plaster works were presented. The evolution of his art was retraced, from the Head of a Hero in granite (1909), the Woman with a Fan in stone (1923), the Sculptor and his Collection of Materials (1929), a monumental Sculptor in wood (today disappeared), Orpheus in elm wood (1930), up to the reliefs in gilded plaster produced for the Métropole cinema in Brussels (1932).

A 36 page catalogue, including 12 reproductions, was published with a preface by André de Ridder: "A devotee of direct carving, he [Zadkine] has always known how to extract the maximum from wood and stone (…) There is no other sculptor who loves more or understands better the profound nature of wood, granite and marble. It's by following their contours, by making use of their veins, granulations and faults, that Zadkine has made bodies of women and adolescents, fantastical animals, trees – men, stones – fish, emerge from these materials in such a spellbinding fashion. So innovative, so personal, Zadkine is one of our real, rare "classics" of today." The exhibition was a resounding success, and some of the works were presented the following month in Anvers, at the Cercle Royal Artistique.