Gabriel Zendel's pictures from the second quarter of the 20th Century reflect the strange atmosphere of the time during which they were painted. They might be described as Neo-primitivist, Fauve, and often include a hint of surrealism. I love this strong, edgy depiction of a woman with bobbed hair which dates from circa 1938 and who makes me think of the German Expressionists from that period.
Gabriel Zendel was born in January 1906 in Jezov, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a Polish Family of Jewish origin. Gabriels vocation as a painter manifested itself from childhood, and was always encouraged by his relatives. The family settled in Paris, where the father successfully opened an art book binding workshop on Avenue Jean-Jaurs. Young Gabriel started to work there as an apprentice aged 14 - and set up an easel at the back of the shop!
In 1925, Zendel enrolled in the Institute of Contemporary Aesthetics in rue Notre-Dame-des- Champs, where Paul Bornet was a professor. In 1929, Zendel sold his first painting, a Montmartre urban landscape, and began to enjoy a certain celebrity. On the request of Jean Cassou, the writer, art critic and the first Director of the new Muse national d'Art moderne in Paris, the French state bought its first of Gabriel's paintings.
At the start of the war, Gabriel was mobilised to serve in a hospital train. He continued to draw and sent his works to Amiens, with the aim of organising an exhibition, but everything was lost when the city got destroyed.
When he was discharged from service, Gabriel returned to Paris. As a Jew, he was arrested, by the Germans, but managed to escape and settled in Cannes where he painted relentlessly. After the war, he returned to his Parisian studio. In 1949, he went to America on the occasion of an exhibition of his works at the mythical Durand-Ruel Gallery in New York. The collector Stephen Clark bought a painting. Durand-Ruel also organised several exhibitions of Zendels work in Paris. Gabriel also had private views at the equally important Galerie de Paris, the Galerie Drouant-David, and the Galerie de la Prsidence. Internationally, he showed his work in Sweden, Japan, Canada, Hungary and Switzerland.
Works by Gabriel Zendel are held by the Museum of modern art of the city of Paris, the Petit Palais, Paris, the French Embassy in Vienna, the Rennes Museum of Fine Arts , the Libourne Museum of Fine Arts, the Frdric Blandin Municipal Museum in Nevers, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary art of Saint-tienne, the Dunkirk Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyon Museum of Fine Arts, the Eugne-Boudin Museum in Honfleur, the Andr-Malraux Museum of Modern Art in Le Havre, the Denys-Puech Museum in Rodez, the Museum of Art and History of Judaism, Paris, in the French National Center for Plastic Arts, and in several other institutions.
Our watercolour by Zendel is signed at the lower right, and measures 30 x 22 cm. The overall size in a simple limed oak frame: 37 x 29 cm. Please request our Newsletter No.19 - the Gabriel Zendel Special - for further information on the artist
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