His first solo exhibition in 1920

First solo exhibition, Rue Rousselet

Zadkine organised his first solo exhibition in his studio in the rue Rousselet, from 16th May to 2nd June 1920. He managed to present 49 sculptures, thus offering a panoramic view of his artistic activity of the preceding ten years. His work was characterised by the direct carving method: 20 in wood, 14 in stone, 11 in marble and only 4 works produced through modelling. For the main part they were heads, maternity figures, female figures and female musicians. Two sculptures, Job and Léda, were inspired by mythology. Also exhibited were 30 watercolours and 30 drawings, on the themes of interiors, compositions and landscapes.

A small catalogue was published, consisting of the list of works, and 4 illustrations in black and white: Venus, Head, The Holy Family, The Harvest and a preface by the art historian Georges Duthuit: “Zadkine must be counted amongst the great craftsmen of the moment. Everyday further removed from a stylisation which he found too cursory and a noble poeticism, but which he still holds to be foreign to his art, he today wishes to display the extent of his energy and sensitivity, in their bare simplicity.

Although visitors to the exhibition were few and far between, André Salmon devoted a eulogistic article to him in the magazine L’Europe nouvelle, on 13th June 1920, "Zadkine is one of the strongest, liveliest and most sensational (in the absolute sense of the word) expressions of this European Art which we have seen flourishing in Paris for ten years and more […] The large figures he exhibits are flowers of the spirit, blooming on a very solid terrestrial foundation […] Today I only wish to encourage art lovers, too deprived of an important part of the plastic arts, to run to the workshop of this wonderful young man, driven by a primitive artisan consciousness.