Jacob Epstein(1880-1959), Sculptor
Sir Jacob Epstein
Sitter in 68 portraits
Artist of 14 portraits
The leading modernist sculptor of his day, Epstein was born in New York to Polish-Jewish parents, studying in Paris before moving to London in 1905. He quickly became known as a great sculptor, but his controversial work perhaps cost him an appointment as war artist and an RCA professorship. His nude figures for London’s British Medical Association building (1908) shocked Edwardian sensibilities, yet he continued to regularly exhibit life-size bronzes and portraits at the Leicester Galleries. Works include the influential The Rock Drill (1913-14), the essence of Vorticist style, and Oscar Wilde's tomb in Père Lachaise. Knighted in 1954, he completed several large commissions and portraits in his last decade.
Watch a film clip on the artist from the BBC Archive in the Media section below