Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967)


Homo Sapiens


209.6 x 142.2 x 114.3 cm

Patinated plaster
Signed and inscribed 'Original'



Brummer Gallery, New York, acquired directly from the artist. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1937, gift from Joseph Brummer.


Brummer Gallery, New York, January 25-March 20, 1937. Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Forms of Art," April 24-May 23rd, 1937 (Gift of Joseph Brummer).
Philadelphia, PMA (organized by the Fairmount Park Association) "Sculpture International," May 18-October 1, 1940, no. 407 (lent by the Philadelphia Museum of Art).


Zadkine, Brummer Gallery, Exhibition catalogue, 1937, no. 1
Art News, January 30, 1937, opposite p. 9.
Sylvain Lecombre, Ossip Zadkine: l'oeuvre sculpté, Paris, 1994, no. 262 illustration of the first version of this sculpture.


Ossip Zadkine created this second version of his monumental sculpture ‘Homo Sapiens’ in 1936 for his exhibition at the Brummer Gallery in New York.

Zadkine is for the first time invited to exhibit in New York by the Brummer gallery in 1937. He wishes to present the American public with what he then considers to be his major works. Selected among 33 sculptures and starring together with his Orphée, is his Homo Sapiens (1933) in elm wood. 205 x 135 x 95 cm – A monumental sculpture.  As mentioned in the artist’s autobiography « Le Maillet et le Ciseau » (p. 124), « when the sculptures were too big, he would cast them in plaster and transport them in parts ». As a matter of fact, it would have been too costly to transport the Homo Sapiens in solid wood cross the Atlantic. The plaster version was thus minutely executed. Zadkine cautiously inscribed the mention “ORIGINAL” on the bottom of it.


The first version in wood was created between 1933 and 1935 and is now in the collection of the Musee National d'Art Moderne in Paris.


Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Zadkine Research Center


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