|Ossip Zadkine, a sculptor's self-portrait.|
Our plan was to go to Zadkine first. It's located close to the Luxembourg Gardens and only a few blocks from the hotel where we stayed. This fit our plan of old and new nicely, since the Gardens are on our must-visit list. So on a bright Monday morning, after getting checked into our hotel, we strolled across the Gardens to find the museum.
It turned out to be not that easy. We had the correct address. We even had it on Google Maps, but somehow walked by it without noticing. When we finally got reoriented and found the door, we were chagrined to realize that the museum is closed on Monday. Well, no matter. We had plenty of things to see on our list.
We almost decided not to come back. That would have been a bad decision. On Wednesday, after a breakfast of espresso and a croissant, we made our way across the Gardens again and were pleased to find the doors open and welcoming. We did have one more glitch. Musee Zadkine is usually listed as a free museum. But on our visit, we had to pay an entrance fee of a few Euros. It turns out that there was a special exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the artist's death.
The artist, Ossip Zadkine, was born in Russia in 1890. He studied in London and moved to Paris in 1910. His home and studio now is the site of the museum that features his sculptures. The special exhibit was particularly fascinating, since it included works by many other artists who influenced Zadkine. These included Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.
|Many of Zadkine's pieces are displayed in a quiet garden surrounding his studio.|
I hope that doesn't come across as too harsh. We did enjoy the museum. It does exactly what the name describes - it provides a broad historical perspective on Jewish history beginning in the Biblical era. It appropriately has a focus on the history of Jews in France, but not exclusively.
It's located in the Hotel de Saint-Aignan. (The museum's web site provides an interesting history of the building.) Our visit provided us with a nice cultural break after spending the morning sightseeing and shopping in the Marais. (The museum's web site explains that the Jewish presence in the Marais dates back 700 years, but with notable gaps during periods of anti-Semitic persecution and expulsion.)
|The courtyard leading to the entrance of the Jewish museum.|