Jacob Epstein

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Epstein, (Sir) Jacob

(1880–1959) sculptor; born in New York City. He studied in New York (1896–1902), in Paris (1902–04), and then moved to London (1905), where he lived for the rest of his life. His early religious subjects, such as Genesis (1930), were attacked as both indecent and blasphemous, and his busts of contemporary notables were done in a moderately modernist style. The English generally held him in higher regard than did American critics and he was knighted in 1954.

Epstein, Jacob


Born Nov. 10, 1880, in New York; died Aug. 19, 1959, in London. American sculptor.

Epstein moved to Paris in 1902 and studied there at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Julian Academy. In 1905 he moved to London. Epstein was associated with the symbolist school, particularly in his early period, during which he produced the memorial for O. Wilde (granite, 1912, Pére Lachaise Cemetery, Paris). He produced religious and allegorical compositions, often achieving marked dramatic tension in his figures, as in his Madonna With Child (1952, Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, London). Epstein also executed numerous realistic portraits, which he imbued with vivid emotional characteristics and a sense of the agitation in the subject’s life. Among such works are the portraits of P. Robeson and O. Ross (bronze, 1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York).


Let There Be Sculpture. London, 1940.
An Autobiography. London, 1955.


Buckle, R. Jacob Epstein Sculptor. London, 1963.