About Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein was born in New York to Orthodox Jewish Russian immigrants. After studying in Paris he settled in England in 1905, taking British citizenship in 1907. He caused outrage with his first major commission, eighteen colossal figures for the new British Medical Association
building in the Strand, for his frank treatment of the nude. The notoriety gained him further commissions, including for portrait busts.
In the early 20th century Epstein was part of England’s artistic avant-garde. He was a founder of the London Group and became involved with Wydham Lewis’s futuristic Vorticists. 'The Rock Drill', 1913 (Tate Gallery), arguably his most important work, came from this period. As well as
working in bronze, Epstein was a pioneer of direct carving into stone without using a working model.
Despite rejecting conventional ideas of beauty, Epstein established a reputation for his portraits of celebrities, exuberantly modelled and cast in bronze. Many beautiful women aspired to pose for him. In addition to portraits Epstein created many sculptures on religious themes
throughout his career, remaining controversial to the end.
Art and Architecture, 'Scandal in the Strand'. This looks at the outrage caused by Epstein's first major commission. It is one part of a larger, excellent feature on Epstein
'Jacob Epstein: Sculptor in Revolt'
The London Group
'Torso in Metal from 'The Rock drill'', Tate Collection