Ossip Zadkine was a painter in gouache and watercolour, a lithographer and tapestry designer. and part of the "School of Paris". He was born in Smolensk, Russia and sent to Sunderland in 1905 to study English. Instead, he began to attend classes in art, then moved to London in 1906, and studied sculpture at Regent Street Polytechnic and the Central School. In 1909, he settled in Paris, and after a few months at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he started to work independently.
In 1911-12 he met famed artists of the period, among them Apollinaire, Brancusi, Archipenko, Lipchitz and Picasso. He first practised direct carving in wood and stone, later made simplified figures partly influenced by Romanesque art and later by Cubism. After his war service from 1915 to 1918, during which he was a victim of gassing, he had his fiirst one-man exhibition at the Galerie Le Centaure, Brussels in 1919.
From 1925 he often modelled sculptures for casting in bronze and developed compositions of greater complexity, sometimes with several figures and an interplay of convex and concave planes. During the Second World War, he found refuge in New York, but returned to Paris in 1945 and taught at the Grande Chaumière school of art.
The highlight of his career was being awarded the main sculpture prize at the 1950 Venice Biennale. Later works included a monumental figure commemorating the bombing of Rotterdam and a monument to van Gogh at Auvers-sur-Oise.