What they said about Chana Orloff...

Max Jacob, 14 July 1919, about his portrait by Chana Orloff.

“So, you really think that my lowly head like a shorn sheep can adorn an album or be of interest to anyone? I want to believe it. Honestly, it will take every bit of your talent to make this head of mine look like it has anything rattling around in it!”

E. Des Courières 1923.

“She makes me think of Maurice de Vlaminck. She is a very great artist. When I behold her work, I am filled with an impression kindred to the one I get from Mussorgsky's music: music that is totally new. Chana Orloff's work was not made to linger in the dust of academic workshops. This sculpture exudes a feeling of relaxation and contented plenitude.”

André Salmon 1924.

“Few artists [...] in this century have matched Chana Orloff in their respect for the domination of the mind, without forgetting that the ways of the mind are human; if the notion that we may have of the divine is still human. Chana Orloff created lifelike effigies beyond the wildest realistic expectations.”

Haïm Gamzou, directeur et Conservateur en Chef du Musée de Tel Aviv. Avril 1980.

“Chana Orloff was one of the first women to venture into the field of sculpture. She brought the freshness and richness of everyday life to modern sculpture. Thanks to her, sculpture has become everyone's heritage, accessible to all. Indeed, but for fear of being misunderstood, one might say that she was the most accessible of all contemporary sculptors. But, if she put her work within the grasp of the general public, it was to allow everyone better access to art.”

Jean Cassou, Conservateur en Chef du Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. Avril 1980.

“There is no doubt her early works show a simplification of perspectives, a stylisation that could be in harmony with what is sought in cubism. Those processes satisfy her other personal need: a need to render nature in its most elementary forms and use extreme candor to that end. A kind candor tinged with amiable irony. Our artist was interested in the human face. The curves of feminine grace, the pronounced relief of male countenances, and the movement in the faces of animals. At heart, she was a portraitist and a storyteller.”

Germaine Coutard-Salmon in her book Chana Orloff, published by Shakespeare et Compagy, Avril 1980.

“Chana Orloff was one of the first women to venture into the field of sculpture. She brought the freshness and richness of everyday life to modern sculpture. Thanks to her, sculpture has become everyone's heritage, accessible to all. Indeed, but for fear of being misunderstood, one might say that she was the most accessible of all contemporary sculptors. But, if she put her work within the grasp of the general public, it was to allow everyone better access to art. Her style is eminently personal, because its aesthetic qualities are mixed with a deep humanity.”

Cécile Goldscheider, Head Curator of the Musée Rodin. Vallois exhibition catalogue. November 1983

From cubism she retained the need to cast the elementary character of shapes without reducing their geometry. Her mastery of wood carving has its roots in the craftsmanship of her home country, Ukraine. It explains her tendency towards a stripped down, personal style that was in tune with the demand for renewal that existed in that period.

What they saw

Katia Granoff 1958.

Jacques Chirac, alors maire de Paris lors d'un déplacement à la FIAC en 1985.

Edouard Phillipe, alors maire du Havre dans son bureau avec le buste d'Auguste Perret 2017.