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Chana Orloff, Scult the era, at the Zadkine museum

The Zadkine Museum unveils the very first Parisian monographic exhibition devoted to Chana Orloff since 1971. With a collection of around a hundred works, this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to rediscover an artist who was once celebrated in an exceptional way during her lifetime, but who remains unfairly unknown today, although her work is solidly represented in French and international collections, particularly in Israel.

Date:  from November 15, 2023 to March 31, 2024

Location: Zadkine Museum

Desire: Sculpture, Israel

Located near the studio that the artist occupied at the start of his career on rue d'Assas, the Zadkine museum seems to be the ideal setting to pay tribute to Chana Orloff. The sculptures of Chana Orloff enter into a specific dialogue with those of the master of the place, the sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who knew the artist well as an exact contemporary. Their backgrounds have striking similarities, both of Jewish origin, born in the Russian Empire - she in present-day Ukraine and he in present-day Belarus. Parisians at heart, familiar with the Montparnasse district, Chana Orloff and Ossip Zadkine followed parallel and independent paths.

Chana Orloff zadkine museum
Chana Orloff zadkine museum

The exhibition reveals a strong and independent female figure through the emblematic work of the School of Paris which marked its era. It highlights the major themes dear to Chana Orloff, from the portrait which earned her recognition and economic independence, to the representation of the female body and motherhood, classic themes of Western sculpture.

Chana Orloff, born in 1888 in what is now Ukraine, had an atypical destiny which did not predestine her to become one of the most renowned sculptors of the School of Paris. Raised in a Jewish family that emigrated to Palestine, she arrived in Paris in 1910 to pursue sewing studies. However, in this bustling artistic capital, Chana Orloff discovered her passion for sculpture. Working alongside artists from Montparnasse, including figures such as Modigliani and Soutine, who became her friends, she forged a personal and inimitable style. His portraits, both stylized and resembling, ensured his success and allowed him to “represent the times”.

The period between the two wars saw the impressive rise of Chana Orloff: she exhibited in France and abroad, obtaining French nationality in 1926 after receiving the Legion of Honor the previous year. In 1937, she participated in the major exhibition of Masters of Independent Art organized at the Petit Palais in Paris. However, the Second World War abruptly interrupted its success. Persecuted because of her Jewish origins, Chana Orloff narrowly escaped the Vel d'Hiv roundup with her son and managed to flee to Switzerland.

Returning from exile in 1945, she discovered her workshop ransacked, but resumed sculpture. Between France and Israel, she created several monuments, including the poignant "Maternity Ein Gev", presented as a life-size model in the exhibition. Chana Orloff died in 1968, one year after Ossip Zadkine.

CURATOR Cécilie Champy-Vinas, chief curator, director of the Zadkine museum Pauline Créteur, research fellow at the National Library of France.

Date:  from November 15, 2023 to March 31, 2024

Location: Zadkine Museum

Desire: retrospective, Israel

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