Epstein, Sir Jacob

Epstein, Sir Jacob
born Nov. 10, 1880, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Aug. 21, 1959, London, Eng.

U.S.-born British sculptor.

He studied in Paris and settled in England in 1905. His 18 nude figures known as the Strand Statues (1907–08) provoked charges of indecency; his nude angel on the tomb of Oscar Wilde (1912) in Paris was also attacked. In 1913 he became affiliated with Vorticism and developed a style characterized by simple forms and calm surfaces carved from stone; his works often partly retained the shape of the original block, or sometimes they were modeled in plaster. He is best known for religious and allegorical figures carved in colossal blocks of stone and for bronze portrait busts of celebrities. Occasionally he produced monumental bronze groups, such as St. Michael and the Devil (1958) for Coventry Cathedral.

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▪ British sculptor
born Nov. 10, 1880, New York City
died Aug. 21, 1959, London

      one of the leading portrait sculptors of the 20th century whose work, though seldom innovative, is widely heralded for its perceptive depiction of character and its modelling technique.

      Epstein's early ambition was to be a painter, and he spent his adolescence sketching the teeming ghetto life of New York City, showing even then the obsession with human personality that distinguishes much of his mature work. Faulty eyesight forced him to abandon painting for sculpture, and after studying two years in Paris, he set up a sculpture studio in London in 1905. He soon began to make his way as a portrait sculptor, despite the public scandals caused by the nudity of his so-called Strand Statues (1907–08; destroyed 1937) and the debauched-looking angel on his memorial (1912) for the English writer Oscar Wilde.

      In 1913, Epstein became a founding member of the London Group, a loose association of artists and writers promoting modern art in England. Over the next two years, he developed a mildly experimental style that yielded some of his most powerful works, characterized by their extreme simplification of forms and calm surfaces. Most of these pieces were carved from stone, but the strongest work of the period, “The Rock Drill” (1913; Tate Gallery, London), was modeled in plaster, and its robotlike form reflects his short-lived interest in sleek, abstract design.

 With the dissolution of the London Group in 1916, Epstein began to work in the two modes for which he is best-known. Works of the first mode, mostly religious and allegorical figures such as “Genesis” (1930) and “Ecce Homo” (1934–35), consisted of crude, brutal-looking forms carved directly into a megalith, often revealing the shape of the original block. The second mode, a multitude of bronzes cast from modeled clay, forms the bulk of his work. These brilliantly executed studies of the rich and the celebrated are characterized by subtle treatment of planes and richly agitated surfaces. At first used to accentuate the play of light on bronze, the rough surfaces were later exaggerated to such an extent that they bore little relationship to the sculptural mass and became merely decorative. Occasionally, he also made monumental bronzes, such as “St. Michael and the Devil” (1958; Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, Eng.). In his later years, Epstein became a vehement opponent of abstract sculptors. He was knighted in 1954.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • EPSTEIN, SIR JACOB — (1880–1959), English sculptor, considered one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, and probably the most famous Anglo Jewish artist of his time. He was born on New York s Lower East Side into a family of Polish Jewish immigrants and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Epstein, Sir Jacob — (10 nov. 1880, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–21 ago. 1959, Londres, Inglaterra). Escultor británico nacido en EE.UU. Estudió en París y se estableció en Inglaterra en 1905. Sus 18 figuras desnudas, conocidas como Estatuas Strand (1907–08), hicieron… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Epstein,Sir Jacob — Ep·stein (ĕpʹstīn ), Sir Jacob. 1880 1959. American born British sculptor who is noted for his busts and his massive, controversial works, such as the marble Venus (1917). * * * …   Universalium

  • Epstein, Sir Jacob — (1880–1959)    English sculptor. Jacob Epstein was one of the greatest sculptors of the twentieth century, but public recognition was slow in coming. During what he later called his ‘Thirty Years’ War with England’, some of Epstein’s work became… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Sir Jacob Epstein — noun British sculptor (born in the United States) noted for busts and large controversial works (1880 1959) • Syn: ↑Epstein, ↑Jacob Epstein • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sculptor, ↑sculpturer, ↑carver, ↑statue maker …   Useful english dictionary

  • EPSTEIN (J.) — EPSTEIN sir JACOB (1880 1959) C’est peu avant 1900 que Jacob Epstein, fils d’émigrés russo polonais, décide de se consacrer à la sculpture. Il entre dans une fonderie de New York et suit, le soir, des cours de modelage. Venu à Paris en 1902, il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jacob — o Ya akov, en hebreo יַעֲקֹב sostenido por el talón o en árabe يعقوب Yaʿqūb, conocido despues como Israel hebreo יִשְׂרָאֵל Principe de Dios , árabe اسرائيل Isrāʾīl) es uno de los patriarcas de la Biblia. Su historia es contada en el libro de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jacob Epstein — noun British sculptor (born in the United States) noted for busts and large controversial works (1880 1959) • Syn: ↑Epstein, ↑Sir Jacob Epstein • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sculptor, ↑sculpturer, ↑carver, ↑statue maker * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • Jacob — /jay keuhb/ for 1, 3; Fr. /zhann kawb / for 2, n. 1. the second son of Isaac, the twin brother of Esau, and father of the 12 patriarchs. Gen. 25:24 34. 2. François /frddahonn swann /, born 1920, French geneticist: Nobel prize for medicine 1965. 3 …   Universalium

  • Epstein — noun British sculptor (born in the United States) noted for busts and large controversial works (1880 1959) • Syn: ↑Jacob Epstein, ↑Sir Jacob Epstein • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sculptor, ↑sculpturer, ↑carver, ↑statue maker …   Useful english dictionary

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