Ossip Zadkine was born in 1890 in Vitebsk, Russia. He arrived in Paris at the age of 21 and would never return to his home country. By the 1920’s he had an international reputation as sculptor. During the second World War he went into exile in the United States and began a career as a teacher. After his return to Paris in 1945 he continued teaching at La Grande Chaumiere and in one of his studios. Musée Zadkine was opened in 1982 in the studios and house where Zadkine lived and worked for almost forty years. Looking at his work on the Internet, I thought that the sculptures was not my taste but the garden looked so beautiful, it would be worth a visit. The north-lit space where he once worked, is now home to sculptures dating from his early Paris years. Just as this studio won Zadkine’s heart and made him decide to move to Rue Assas, these sculpture won me over. The simplicity and elegant lines displays his search of a free, personal approach to constructing forms. The brochure describes the curves and counter-curves of Bust of a Young Girl as a betrayal of his Russian roots. I don’t know about that, all I can say is beautiful! It is a museum worth visiting, it will steal your heart as it did mine.
Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) chose to live in the Montparnasse district with its many artists’ workshops. By the end of his life, the then-famous Bourdelle envisaged a museum which could house all his work. After his death, his wife Cléopâtre, his daughter Rhodia and his son-in-law Micel Dufet ensured that his work was widely exhibited. The Bourdelle Museum was inaugurated on the 4th of July 1949.
Bourdelle joined the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Toulouse at the age of 15. in 1884, he signed up for Falguière’s workshop in Paris. The following year, het settled at 16 Impasse du Maine (now rue Antoine-Bourdelle), where he would work all his life. In 1893, Bourdelle became an assistant to Rodin, this collaboration lasted until 1908. Bourdelle experienced success with Heracles the Archer. This work can be found in all the major museums in the world, from Tokyo to Los Angeles.
From the lobby I went into the garden where a gigantic horse statue stopped me in my tracks. It is magnificent. As you exit the horse is facing away from you. Seeing this proud animal with his muscles bulging was quite overpowering, I just stood there staring for quite a while.
There was lots more to see, so unfortunately I had to get a move on. The gardens are peaceful and the perfect setting for his work. This sculpture is immense, my head will reach to the knee of the woman in the photo…
On the first floor is a verandah with a row of busts of well-known people, impressive.
There is a room called the Great Hall, and you do need a vast space for the monumental plaster sculptures displayed there. Heracles the archer in front, is 2.5 metres from the pedestal to the top of the bow.
Bourdelle’s workshop was faithfully preserved and it recreates the atmosphere of an early twentieth century workshop. It has a large glass roof which allows light to filter in from the north. It has a mezzanine level which gives an unusual viewpoint of the works.
On the way back I passed Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet Church. It is not as beautiful from the outside as many of the other well-known churches in Paris. As a matter of fact it looks a bit run-down and dirty, but I wanted to see inside. A sign on the door asks for respect, as you enter the House of God, no cellphones. I liked that. Inside it was so quiet and peaceful, I sat down, not wanting to walk around. There were about 10 other people there, all sitting down quietly. A young man of about 20, with jeans and a backpack, came in, looked around and then slowly tiptoed to the front, had another look around and then quietly walked back, still on his toes. You feel the atmosphere when you walk in. The building is beautiful inside and well looked after. A place where you can pray and worship, not for taking photos. Just take my word for it, it is pretty 🙂