A color lithograph print on heavy Arches paper, titled "Praying Mantis", 1964, pencil signed at lower right by the famous Russian-born sculptor OSSIP ZADKINE (1890-1967). The sheet, 30" by 22", is numbered 142/210 at lower left. Zadkine was born in Vitebsk and showed early talent. As a young man of 20 he was already in Paris, where he met Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Chagall, Lissitzky and others, becoming friends with a number of those gifted luminaries. He volunteered to serve in World War I, seeing action on the front lines, even before becoming a French national in 1921. Throughout the 1920's, and early 1930's, he began to exhibit his works and received significant recognition, but the economic hard times of the thirties made life difficult. Zadkine left for America in 1941, sitting out the war years in New York, teaching at the Art Students League. In 1941-42 his works were exhibited at Wildenstein Galleries next to works by Leger, Chagall, and Lipchitz. After the war Zadkine returned to Europe; he was both devastated by the scale of physical destruction, and, inspired by it, creating major bronze sculptures which are now displayed in public spaces on the continent. Today the Musee Zadkine in Paris (see interesting and informative website) operates in his former house and studio. In 2017 a sculpture sold for nearly 1 million dollars, and many works have sold at auction in the multi-hundreds of thousands. Fortunately, his signed lithographs of the 1950's and 1960's are considerably more affordable. This 1964 image, "Praying Mantis", shows the influences of classic Greek and African art studied by Zadkine, intertwined with Cubist characteristics. The artist himself wrote about the subject: "The subject has for a long time persecuted me; the uneven stage of the feminine and the masculine, and its domination by one or the other. This physiological event had to be translated , of course, into lines, forms and colors. A light yellow coloration of one personage and the slow darkening of the other are meant to express the decay: the slow giving up of its striving for domination". The print is in generally good condition. There is some light age-toning of the paper that was inside the mat window, and I note a few tiny stray rusty or discolored spots in the margins. The work was taped at top edge (in two places) to a board; some tape residue, which would be hidden by new mat/framing, remains. Shipping figures assume the print will be rolled in a hard tube (but could be shipped flat---inquire).
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