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Sir Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
KBE (10 November 1880 – 19 August 1959) was an American British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture.[1][2][3][4] He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British subject in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged ideas on what was appropriate subject matter for public artworks. He also made paintings and drawings, and often exhibited his work.[5]

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Move to Europe

2.1 Work

3 Personal life 4 Death and legacy 5 Selected major pieces 6 Sculptures 7 Bibliography 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Early life and education[edit] Epstein's parents were Polish Jewish refugees,[6][7] living on New York's Lower East Side. His family was middle-class, and he was the third of five children. His interest in drawing came from long periods of illness; as a child he suffered from pleurisy. He studied art in his native New York as a teenager, sketching the city, and joined the Art Students League of New York
Art Students League of New York
in 1900. For his livelihood, he worked in a bronze foundry by day, studying drawing and sculptural modelling at night. Epstein's first major commission was to illustrate Hutchins Hapgood's 1902 book Spirit of the Ghetto. Epstein used the money from the commission to move to Paris. Move to Europe[edit]

Jan Smuts
Jan Smuts
in Parliament Square, London

Moving to Europe in 1902, he studied in Paris at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts. He settled in London
London
in 1905 and married Margaret Dunlop in 1906.[8] Epstein became a British subject on 4 January 1911.[9] Many of Epstein's works were sculpted at his two cottages in Loughton, Essex, where he lived first at number 49 then 50, Baldwin's Hill (there is a blue plaque on number 50). He served briefly in the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, known as the Jewish Legion
Jewish Legion
during World War I; following a breakdown, he was discharged in 1918 without having left England. Work[edit] In London, Epstein involved himself with a bohemian and artistic crowd. Revolting against ornate, pretty art, he made bold, often harsh and massive forms of bronze or stone. His sculpture is distinguished by its vigorous rough-hewn realism. Avant-garde
Avant-garde
in concept and style, his works often shocked his audience. This was not only a result of their (often explicit) sexual content, but also because they deliberately abandoned the conventions of classical Greek sculpture favoured by European Academic sculptors to experiment instead with the aesthetics of art traditions as diverse as those of India, West Africa, and the Pacific Islands.[10] People in Liverpool, however, nicknamed his nude male sculpture over the door of Lewis's
Lewis's
department store "Dickie Lewis". Such factors may have focused disproportionate attention on certain aspects of Epstein's long and productive career, throughout which he aroused hostility, especially challenging taboos surrounding the depiction of sexuality.

Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
in 1934, photograph by Carl Van Vechten

London
London
was not ready for Epstein's first major commission – 18 large nude sculptures made in 1908 for the façade of Charles Holden's building for the British Medical Association
British Medical Association
on The Strand (now Zimbabwe House) were initially considered shocking to Edwardian sensibilities, again mainly due to the perception that they were sexually over-explicit. In art-historical terms, however, the Strand sculptures were controversial for quite a different reason: they represented Epstein's first thoroughgoing attempt to break away from traditional European iconography in favour of elements derived from an alternative sculptural milieu – that of classical India. The female figures in particular may be seen deliberately to incorporate the posture and hand gestures of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu art from the subcontinent in no uncertain terms.[11][12] The current, mutilated condition of many of the sculptures is also not entirely connected with prudish censorship; the damage was caused in the 1930s when possibly dangerous projecting features were hacked off after pieces fell from one of the statues. One of the most famous of Epstein's early commissions is Oscar Wilde's tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, "which was condemned as indecent and at one point was covered in tarpaulin by the French police."[13]

Epstein's 1913 sculpture The Rock Drill in its original form. It is now lost.

Between 1913 and 1915, Epstein was associated with the short-lived Vorticism
Vorticism
movement and produced one of his best known sculptures The Rock Drill. In 1915, John Quinn, wealthy American collector and patron to the modernists, bought some Epstein sculptures to add to his private collection.[14] In 1916, Epstein was commissioned by Viscount Tredegar to produce a bronze head of Newport poet W. H. Davies. The bronze, regarded by many as the most accurate artistic impression of Davies and a copy of which Davies owned himself, may be found at Newport Museum
Newport Museum
and Art Gallery[15] In 1928, Epstein sculpted the head of the popular singer and film star Paul Robeson. A commission from Holden for the new headquarters building of the London
London
Electric Railway generated another controversy in 1929. His nude sculptures Day and Night above the entrances of 55 Broadway were again considered indecent and a debate raged for some time regarding demands to remove the offending statues which had been carved in-situ. Eventually a compromise was reached to modify the smaller of the two figures represented on Day. But the controversy affected his commissions for public work which dried up until World War II. Between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s, numerous works by Epstein were exhibited in Blackpool. Adam, Consummatum Est, Jacob and the Angel and Genesis, and other works, were initially displayed in an old drapery shop surrounded by red velvet curtains. The crowds were ushered in at the cost of a shilling by a barker on the street. After a small tour of American fun fairs, the works were returned to Blackpool
Blackpool
and were exhibited in the anatomical curiosities section of Louis Tussaud's waxworks. The works were displayed alongside dancing marionettes, diseased body parts and conjoined ("Siamese") twin babies in jars. Placing Epstein within the context of freakish curiosity perhaps added to Epstein's decision not to create further large-scale direct carvings.

St Michael's Victory over the Devil (1958), on the new Coventry Cathedral

Bronze portrait sculpture formed one of Epstein's staple products, and perhaps the best known. These sculptures were often executed with roughly textured surfaces, expressively manipulating small surface planes and facial details. Some fine examples are in the National Portrait Gallery. Another example is the bust of the Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman
Herbert Chapman
that sat in the marble halls of Highbury
Highbury
for many years before being moved to the new Emirates Stadium. During the Second World War, Epstein was asked to undertake six commissions for the War Artists' Advisory Committee. After completing bronze busts of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, General Sir Alan Cunningham, and Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal
Portal
- and Ernest Bevin, Epstein accepted a commission to create busts of John Anderson and Winston Churchill. He completed a bust of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
in early 1947. Epstein's aluminium figure of Christ in Majesty (1954–55), is suspended above the nave in Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, on a concrete arch designed by George Pace. His larger sculptures were his most expressive and experimental, but also his most vulnerable. His depiction of Rima, one of author W. H. Hudson's most famous characters, graces a serene enclosure in Hyde Park. Even here, a visitor became so outraged as to defile it with paint. He was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International, which was organised by the Fairmount Park Association (now the Association for Public Art) and held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. Epstein would often sculpt the images of friends, casual acquaintances, and even people dragged from the street into his studio almost at random. He worked even on his dying day. He also painted; many of his watercolours and gouaches were of Epping Forest, where he lived (at Loughton) and sculpted. These were often exhibited at the Leicester Galleries
Leicester Galleries
in London. His Monkwood Autumn and Pool, Epping Forest date from 1944–45. Epstein was Jewish,[16][17][18][19] and negative reviews of his work sometimes took on an antisemitic flavour, though he did not attribute the "average unfavorable criticism" of his work to antisemitism.[20] Epstein met Albert Einstein
Einstein
at Roughton Heath, Norfolk, in 1933 and had three sittings for a bust. He remembered his meeting with Einstein as, "His glance contained a mixture of the humane, the humorous and the profound. This was a combination which delighted me. He resembled the ageing Rembrandt."[21] Personal life[edit]

Kathleen, in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Despite being married to and continuing to live with Margaret, Epstein had a number of relationships with other women that brought him his five children: Peggy Jean (born 1918), Theo (1924–1954), Kathleen (1926–2011), Esther (1929–1954) and Jackie (1934–2009).[22] Margaret generally tolerated these relationships – even to the extent of bringing up his first and last children. In 1921, Epstein began the longest of these relationships, with Kathleen Garman, one of the Garman sisters,[23] mother of his three middle children, which continued until his death. Margaret "tolerated Epstein's infidelities, allowed his models and lovers to live in the family home and raised Epstein's first child, Peggy Jean, who was the daughter of Meum Lindsell, one of Epstein's previous lovers. Evidently, Margaret's tolerance did not extend to Epstein's relationship with Kathleen Garman, as in 1923 Margaret shot and wounded Kathleen in the shoulder."[13] Margaret Epstein died in 1947, and after Epstein was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
in the 1954 New Year Honours,[24] he married Kathleen Garman
Kathleen Garman
in 1955. Their eldest daughter, also named Kathleen but known as "Kitty", married painter Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud
in 1948 and was mother of two of his daughters, Annie and Annabel. She is the subject of the painting Portrait of Kitty. In 1953 they divorced. She married a second time in 1955, to economist Wynne Godley.[25] They have one daughter.[25] Death and legacy[edit]

Blue Plaque for Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Sculptor, located at 18 Hyde Park Gate, London
London
SW7 5DH

Jacob Epstein's grave at Putney Vale Cemetery, London
London
in 2014

Epstein died in August 1959 in Kensington[3][26] and is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery. A blue plaque may be found at "Deerhurst", 50 Baldwins Hill in Loughton, which was his home from 1933 to 1950.[27] The Garman Ryan Collection, including several works by Epstein, was donated to the people of Walsall, by Lady Epstein in 1973. It is on display at The New Art Gallery Walsall.[28] His art is displayed all over the world; highly original for its time, its influence on the younger generation of sculptors such as Henry Moore[29][30] and Barbara Hepworth[31] was significant. According to June Rose, in her biography, Moore was befriended by the older sculptor during the early 1920s and visited Epstein in his studio. Epstein, along with Moore and Hepworth, all expressed a deep fascination with the non-western art from the British Museum. In March 2000 the Epstein Estate appointed Tate
Tate
Images as the Copyright Agent for all permissions clearance. Selected major pieces[edit]

1907–08 Ages of Man[32] – British Medical Association headquarters, Strand, London
London
– mutilated/destroyed 1910 Rom, limestone, Portrait of Romily Epstein, Welsh National Museum of Art, Cardiff, Wales.[33] 1911–12 Oscar Wilde Memorial – Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris 1913–14 The Rock Drill, bronze[34] — the Tate
Tate
Collection (symbolising 'the terrible Frankenstein's monster we have made ourselves into') 1917 Venus marble – Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut 1919 Christ Bronze – Wheathampstead, England 1924–25 W. H. Hudson
W. H. Hudson
Memorial, Rima[35] — Hyde Park, London 1928–29 Night and Day Portland Stone – 55 Broadway, St. James', London 1933 Head of Albert Einstein
Einstein
Bronze – Honolulu Museum of Art 1939 Adam Alabaster – Blackpool, England. Now residing in Harewood House, Leeds 1940–41 Jacob and the Angel Alabaster[36] – the Tate
Tate
Collection (originally controversially "anatomical") 1944– 45 The Archangel Lucifer - Bronze - Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery [37] 1947–48 Lazarus Hoptonwood Stone – Now in chapel of New College, Oxford 1950 Madonna and Child Bronze[38] – Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, London 1954 Social Consciousness[39] – Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia 1956 Liverpool
Liverpool
Resurgent[40] – Lewis's
Lewis's
Building, Liverpool 1958 St Michael's Victory over the Devil Bronze – Coventry Cathedral 1959 Rush of Green[41] – Hyde Park, London

Sculptures[edit]

Oscar Wilde's tomb
Oscar Wilde's tomb
(1912) in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Bust of Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
(1924) in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary (1924), located in Hyde Park, London

Bust of Einstein
Einstein
(1933) in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Day and Night (1928) Portland stone, carved for the London
London
Electric Railway headquarters were considered too shocking when they were unveiled

The Archangel Lucifer (1944–45) in the round gallery of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Liverpool
Liverpool
Resurgent (1956) at Lewis's
Lewis's
store in Liverpool

Bust of Edward Sydney Woods (1958) in Lichfield Cathedral

Pan Statue also known as Rush of Green
Rush of Green
(1961) located by Edinburgh Gate, the south side of Hyde Park, London

The Visitation (1926), on display at the Queensland Art Gallery

Bibliography[edit]

Epstein, Jacob, The sculptor speaks: Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
to Arnold L. Haskell, a series of conversations on art (London: W. Heinemann, 1931) Epstein, Jacob, Let there be sculpture: an autobiography (London: Michael Joseph, 1940)

References[edit]

^ Epstein, Sir Jacob. The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography, p. 498. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. ISBN 978-0-618-25210-7 ^ "Epstein, Jacob" entry in Academic American Encyclopedia, vol. 10, p. 223. Grolier Incorporated, 1994. ISBN 0-7172-2053-2 ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica. Sir Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
(British sculptor) ^ "Epstein, Jacob" entry in Futurism & Futurisms, p. 472. Abbeville Press, 1986. ISBN 0-89659-675-3 ^ Carrick Hill, Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Archived 12 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Jewish Virtual Library. Sir Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
(1880–1959) ^ Schreiber, Mordecai; Schiff, Alvin I.; Klenicki, Leon. The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 33. Schreiber Pub., 2003. ISBN 978-1-887563-77-2 ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 18 February 2018.  ^ "No. 28462". The London
London
Gazette. 3 February 1911. p. 874.  ^ Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard. Modernism and the Museum: Asian, African and Pacific Art and the London
London
Avant Garde. Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.103–164. ^ " Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
– the Indian connection", The Burlington Magazine, November 2008. ^ Video of a Lecture detailing Epstein's Debts to Indian Temple Sculpture, London
London
University School of Advanced Study, March 2012. For another perception on these sculptures and on Indian influence on Epstein, see: Gilboa, "Unto Heaven will I ascend", pp.124-5. ^ a b "Jacob Epstein". Archived from the original on 19 October 2008.  ^ Stock, Noel (1970). The Life of Ezra Pound. Pantheon Books. p. 202 ^ "'William Henry Davies' by Jacob Epstein, January 1917". Retrieved 9 November 2017. [permanent dead link] ^ "ART: Familiar Sensation", TIME, 25 March 1935. "The spectacle to which he referred was an 11-ft., 7-ton statue of Christ propped against the wall in London's swank Leicester Galleries, the latest work of a heavyset, U.S.-born Jewish sculptor, Jacob Epstein." ^ Ezra Mendelsohn, Painting a People: Maurycy Gottlieb and Jewish Art, University Press of New England, 2002, p. 240. "In his discussion of the American-born Jewish sculptor Jacob Epstein, Hutchins Hapgood writes" ^ Alyson Pendlebury, Portraying 'the Jew' in First World War Britain, Vallentine Mitchell, 2006, p. 165. "Among the most striking of these is an image of the Anglo-Jewish sculptor Jacob Epstein, a private in the 38th battalion, modelling a human figure out of sand" ^ Peter Lawson, Anthony Rudolf, Anglo-Jewish Poetry from Isaac Rosenberg to Elaine Feinstein, Vallentine Mitchell, 2006, p. 84. "with the American-Jewish sculptor Jacob Epstein" ^ Epstein, Jacob. Let There Be Sculpture, READ Books, 2007, p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4067-2981-8 ^ Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, London: Avon Publishing, 2001, p.603 ISBN 978-0-380-01159-9 ^ https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/march-2009/28/jackie-epstein ^ Three sisters with a love, and lust, for life Archived 20 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Camden New Journal, 9 September 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2010 ^ "No. 40053". The London
London
Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1953. p. 10.  ^ a b Connolly, Cressida (19 January 2011). "Kitty Godley obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2013.  ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 18 February 2018.  ^ Loughton
Loughton
Town Council: Blue Heritage Plaques at loughton-tc.gov.uk Archived 27 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Collections Archive - The New Art Gallery Walsall".  ^ Berthoud, Roger, The Life of Henry Moore, A William Abrahams Book, E.P. Dutton, New York 1987 ^ Read, Herbert, Henry Moore: A study of his life and work Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, New York, 1966 ^ Hammacher, A.M., The Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, Harry H. Abrams, Inc., New York 1968 ^ [1] Archived 25 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Fairclough 2011, p. 126. ^ [2] ^ [3] Archived 18 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ [4] ^ "The Archangel Lucifer By Jacob Epstein".  ^ [5] Archived 25 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine. ^ [6] Archived 24 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "News: Liverpool
Liverpool
News - Liverpool
Liverpool
Echo".  ^ [7] Archived 25 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine.

Fairclough, Oliver (2011). A Companion Guide to the Welsh National Museum of Art. Cardiff: National Museum Wales Books. ISBN 978-0-72-000613-1. 

Further reading[edit] Below is a brief overview of key texts relating to Epstein:

Buckle, Richard, Jacob Epstein: sculptor (London: Faber 1963) Cork, Richard, Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
(London: Tate
Tate
Gallery Publishing, 1999) Cronshaw, Jonathan, Carving a Legacy: The Identity of Jacob Epstein (PhD Thesis, University of Leeds, 2010) Cronshaw, Jonathan, "this work was never commissioned at all": Jacob Epstein's Madonna and Child (1950–52), Art and Christianity 66, Summer 2011 Friedman, Terry, 'The Hyde Park atrocity': Epstein's Rima: creation and controversy (Leeds: Henry Moore
Henry Moore
Centre for the Study of Sculpture, 1988) Gardner, Stephen, Jacob Epstein: Artist Against the Establishment (London: Joseph, 1992) Gilboa Raquel, ...And There Was Sculpture; Epstein's Formative Years (1880–1930) (London, 2009) Gilboa Raquel, ...Unto heaven will I ascend; Jacob Epstein's Inspired Years (1930–1959) (London, 2013) Gilboa Raquel, Epstein and 'Adam' Revisited, The British Art Journal, Winter 2004, 73–79 Gilboa Raquel, Jacob Epstein's model Meum: Unpublished drawings, The Burlington Magazine, CXVII, 837–380 Hapgood, Hutchins, The spirit of the ghetto: studies of the Jewish quarter of New York; with drawings from life by Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
(New York; London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1909) Silber, Evelyn, et al. Jacob Epstein: sculpture and drawings, (Leeds: Leeds City Art Galleries; London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1987) Silber, Evelyn, The Sculpture of Epstein (London, 1984) Colin Turner, A Caricature of a Sculptor. Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
and the British Press: a critical analysis of old history and new evidence (PhD Thesis, Loughborough University, 2009) Carving mountains: modern stone sculptures in England 1907–37: Frank Dobson, Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Eric Gill, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, John Skeaping
John Skeaping
(Cambridge: Kettles Yard, 1998)

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jacob Epstein

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jacob Epstein.

Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
An article on Jacob Epstein's work on The National Archives website. Includes references to files held at The National Archives. Jon Cronshaw, Einstein
Einstein
captured in bronze as he fled Tate
Tate
Gallery – Jacob Epstein Londonist.com – Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
in London Sculptor Jacob Epstein: Time for a Reappraisal? Jacob Epstein: Sculptor in Revolt (art and architecture) Works by Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
at Internet Archive

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 12578600 LCCN: n50082931 ISNI: 0000 0001 2121 1219 GND: 119235668 SELIBR: 185293 SUDOC: 028911539 BNF: cb12064941q (data) ULAN: 500032047 RKD: 26

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