Cathy Corbett

PhD student

Thesis: A Russian sculptor abroad: Ossip Zadkine and his works in wood, 1908 – 1940

Supervised by Professor Christopher Green

Ossip Zadkine was a major 20th century Russian sculptor who lived and worked in Paris from 1910 until his death in 1967. Zadkine also studied in Britain between 1905 and c1910, and exhibited in London from 1913 onwards.

A focus on Zadkine’s works in wood has led me to look at Zadkine’s background and education in both Russia and England. My research has considered the Russian artistic environment for his works, and has examined some of the facts and myths surrounding Zadkine’s early life. The experience of exile, and how that may affect the way an artist’s story is explained, has also been explored.

My research has also looked at the art school education for sculptors in early 20th century Britain and has considered the beginnings of modernist sculpture in both France and England in the first decade of the 20th century. This has included a comparison of the press it received in both Paris and London, as well as noting the elements of cross-Channel exchange.

Amongst other investigations that continue the theme of the sculptor abroad, I have considered Zadkine’s links with Britain throughout the 1920s and 30s, including important works he made for Edward Wadsworth. The thesis will conclude with an analysis of major exhibitions of Zadkine’s works in wood, in Brussels in 1933 and at the Brummer Gallery in New York in 1937.

I continue to be interested in the students from all over the world who were taught by Zadkine in Paris and the United States, and I hope to do work in the future on his influential and extensive teaching practice.


  • PhD candidate supervised by Professor Christopher Green 2014 – present
  • MA with distinction, Courtauld Institute of Art, 2012 – 2013
  • BA (First Class Honours) History of Art and Architecture, University of Reading, 2007 – 2011
  • PGCE, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, 1984 – 1985
  • BA/MA (Oxon) Theology, Keble College, University of Oxford, 1981-1984


  • Head of Religious Studies, Kendrick School, Reading, 1985 – 1992
  • Teacher of A’ level History of Art, Blue Coat School, Sonning, 2013 – 2014

Research interests

  • 20th-century sculpture
  • Direct carving
  • Modern British art
  • Sculpture in wood
  • The photography of sculpture and sculptors
  • Russian sculpture in the 19th and 20th century
  • The Arts and Crafts movement in Russia and Britain

Other academic activities

  • Postgraduate co-convenor of the Sculptural Processes Group at the Courtauld, 2015 to present
  •  Co-organiser with Professor Deborah Swallow and Professor Christopher Green of the conference “William Fagg and the Study of African Art”, at the Courtauld in April 2015
  • Co-organiser with Professor Christopher Green and Jenna Lundin Aral of the conference: “ The Painter John Golding and 20th Century Art History,” at the Courtauld in December 2015

Papers and Publications

  • “The forgotten Kineton Parkes questionnaires: a resource for 20th century sculpture” in 3rd Dimension, The online magazine of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, May 2016
  • “Ossip Zadkine and the reinvention of an émigré sculptor,” Modern and Contemporary Second Year PhD Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, May 2016
  • “Ossip Zadkine and the reinvention of an émigré sculptor,” at International Congress, Sculpting the Sculptor held at the University of Barcelona, 10th – 11th November 2016. Publication of proceedings planned for Summer 2017.
  • Review of GRACMON Sculpting the Sculptor conference, in 3rd Dimension, the online magazine of the PMSAMay 2017
  • “Henry Moore, Edward Wadsworth and Ossip Zadkine’s Figures in the Garden.” Paper read at the symposium Becoming Henry Moore, organised by the Henry Moore Foundation and Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 16th and 17th June 2017
  • (Forthcoming) “Modigliani and the Salon d’Automne, 1912.”  Chapter in forthcoming catalogue to accompany Modigliani exhibition at Tate Modern, 23rd November 2017 – 2nd April 2018, to be published by Tate Publishing, November 2017