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Human Forest (Forêt humaine)

Ossip Zadkine

European Art

Ossip Zadkine, known primarily as a modernist sculptor, made this gouache of metamorphosing, interconnected human-plant figures after he returned to France from New York, where he had fled in 1941 after the Nazis seized Paris. When the Museum purchased it, he described the circumstances around its creation in a letter to the curatorial department: “When I returned back in October 1945 I found France in a pathetic state, to say little. . . . . I was a sculptor with no house, no workshop, a . . . sort of a D.P. [displaced person]. The human forest seemed to me strange and hostile and inhospitable. I went to the country where I have a house, the only one left to me where I did a group of drawings and gouaches representing this flora of today.”
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor, pen, and black ink over graphite on wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1946
    DIMENSIONS sheet: 36 × 22 in. (91.4 × 55.9 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed and dated bottom right: "O. ZADKINE 46"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Ossip Zadkine (French, born Vitebsk, present–day Belarus (former Russian Empire), 1890–1967). Human Forest (Forêt humaine), 1946. Opaque watercolor, pen, and black ink over graphite on wove paper, sheet: 36 × 22 in. (91.4 × 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 47.111. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.47.111.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.47.111.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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