With its majestically extended neck, ‘Le Cerf’ radiates power and pride. The lines of the wooden sculpture are fluid and robust, immediately drawing attention to the long, muscular neck, the zig-zag shape of the antlers and the gold patina. The gold leaf finish emphasizes the sculpture’s decorative qualities, echoing the Art Deco style that was fashionable in the 1920s. This image of a deer is an unusual subject for the Russian-born Ossip Zadkine who generally chose to focus on the human form. In contrast to many of his works which he executed ‘en taille direct’ (a technique in which the sculptor carves the finished work without using intermediate models or maquettes), Zadkine put the work together from different sections of carved wood. He then used chalk lime and red bolus (an iron oxide-based material) as a primer then gilded the image with 24 carat gold, and polished it. He applied oil paint accents to the gold patina, and painted the entire belly of the deer dark brown.
on loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, former loan P.A. Regnault