A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview

Z

Zack, Léon (1892-1980). Russian-born painter, sculptor, illustrator, and designer who became a French citizen in 1938. He was born at Nijni-Novgorod, and studied literature at Moscow University while at the same time attending classes at art schools. In 1920 he left Russia, living for two years in Florence and a year in Berlin before settling in Paris in 1923. His early work was figurative--typically pictures of dreamy youths, gypsies, harlequins, and vagabonds--but in the 1940s he gradually turned towards abstraction. Originally his abstracts were geometric, but by the late 1950s he had arrived at a much freer and more expressive *Tachiste mode, with sensitively worked blotches disposed in the middle of a monochromatic textured surface. In the 1950s he also took up religious art, designing stained-glass windows for St Sulpice, Paris, in 1957 and for the Sacré-Coeur, Mulhouse, in 1959, as well as sculptures (including crucifixes) for other churches. Zack's other work included book illustrations and ballet decor.

Zadkine, Ossip (1890-1967). Russian-born sculptor who worked mainly in Paris and became a French citizen in 1931. He was born in Vitebsk and grew up in Smolensk. His father was a classics teacher and his mother came from a Scottish family of shipbuilders. In 1905 Zadkine was sent to Britain (where he had relatives on his mother's side) to learn 'English and good manners'. Taking advantage of his independence, he pursued his love of sculpture (which had distracted him from academic studies in Russia), attending lessons at Sunderland College of Art, and then in London, where he moved in 1906. In 1909 he settled in Paris and after spending a few months at the École des *Beaux-Arts he worked independently. By 1912 he was friendly with many leading figures in avant- garde art, among them * Apollinaire, * Archipenko, * Brancusi, * Lipchitz, and * Picasso. He deeply admired * Rodin, but *Cubism had a greater influence on his work. His experiments with Cubism, however, had none of the quality of intellectual rigour associated with Picasso and * Braque, for Zadkine's primary concern was with dramatically expressive forms. The individual style he evolved made great use of hollows and concave inflections, his figures often having openings pierced through them.

In 1915 he joined the French army but was invalided out after being gassed. He worked in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s and spent most of the Second World War in New York (where he taught at the * Art Students League), returning to Paris in 1944. Often Zadkine's work can seem merely melodramatic, but for his greatest commission--the huge bronze To a Destroyed City (completed 1953) standing at the entry to the port of Rotterdam--he created an extremely powerful figure that is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of 20th- century sculpture. With its jagged, torn shapes forming an impassioned gesture mixing defence and supplication, it vividly proclaims anger and frustration at the city's destruction and the courage that made possible its rebuilding. This work gave Zadkine an international reputation and many other major commissions followed it, including monuments in Amsterdam and Jerusalem. Zadkine also painted, made lithographs, and designed tapestries. The house in which he lived in Paris is now a museum devoted to his work.

Zahrtmann, Kristian. See GIERSING.

Zaritzky, Yossef. See NEW HORIZONS.

Zborowski, Léopold. See MODIGLIANI.

Zebra. A group of four German painters formed in Hamburg in 1965 for exhibition

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A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • A 1
  • B 46
  • C 106
  • D 154
  • E 189
  • F 204
  • G 228
  • H 264
  • I 293
  • J 299
  • K 308
  • L 332
  • M 360
  • N 426
  • O 450
  • P 461
  • Q 502
  • R 503
  • S 540
  • T 605
  • U 626
  • V 631
  • W 646
  • X 663
  • Y 665
  • Z 667
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