When the weather is good I like to go to museums that have gardens since it makes sense to see the space as the artist wished us to see it. This is true especially in the case of Ossip Zadkine, a Russian native via London who settled in Paris and worked at the turn of the 20th century remaining until his death.
Not well known or a household name, he was part of that unique artistic crowd living and creating in the 1920s in Paris. He was a friend of Modigliani and author Henry Miller so he kept in good company (or infamous company depending on your point of view). The museum is not large or magestic but conforms to the point of view of the sculptor’s wife Valentine Prax who was responsible for handing the studio and workplace as a museum over to the French government in 1982. Situated on the garden with a series of rooms that are filled with light; you view the sculpture in a variety of white niches as you get to know what materials he worked in: wood, stone, cast iron. You get a sense of how he created and lived.
As a new convert, I found his wood sculptures to be the most modern. Their pure forms and simple materials and concepts were inspired by early African art but based on classic Greek stories and sources. They were at once ancient as they were timeless in their pure human forms. The 1960s were not so kind to the artist and these works bear the stamp of the period so to me, some works were not as important. These pieces in bronze, had the sense of a commission for a corporate garden so they seemed to be formed by committee or by the artists own fear of not being seen as timely.