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Jacob Epstein

(1880-1959), Sculptor

Sir Jacob Epstein

Sitter in 71 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.

Explore the portrait of George Bernard Shaw by Jacob Epstein (NPG 4047) from all angles | the portrait of Lucian Freud by Jacob Epstein (NPG 5199) from all angles | the portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru by Jacob Epstein (NPG 6905) from all angles

Watch a film clip on the artist from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Jacob Epstein, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4126

Jacob Epstein

by Jacob Epstein
bronze head, 1959, based on a work of 1912
NPG 4126

William Henry Davies, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 3885

William Henry Davies

by Jacob Epstein
bronze head, 1916
NPG 3885

Augustus John, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4295

Augustus John

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1916
NPG 4295

Joseph Conrad, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4159

Joseph Conrad

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1924
NPG 4159

Sybil Thorndike, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 5976

Sybil Thorndike

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1925
NPG 5976

Michael Balcon, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 6060

Michael Balcon

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1933
NPG 6060

Ramsay MacDonald, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 2934

Ramsay MacDonald

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1934
NPG 2934

George Bernard Shaw, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4047

George Bernard Shaw

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1934
NPG 4047

Jawaharlal Nehru, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 6905

Jawaharlal Nehru

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1948
NPG 6905

Lucian Freud, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 5199

Lucian Freud

by Jacob Epstein
bronze head, 1949
NPG 5199

Ralph Vaughan Williams, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4762

Ralph Vaughan Williams

by Jacob Epstein
bronze bust, 1950
NPG 4762

T.S. Eliot, by Jacob Epstein - NPG 4440

T.S. Eliot

by Jacob Epstein
plaster cast of bust, 1951
NPG 4440

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