Sir Jacob Epstein

American / British (1880 - 1959)
Sir Jacob Epstein Head of Marie Tracey 1938 © ESTATE OF JACOB EPSTEIN


Born 1880
Died 1959
Nationalities American
Birth place New York City
Death place London

American-born Epstein studied art in Paris then settled in England in 1905. He was one of the first sculptors to take an interest in (so-called) primitive and ancient sculpture and had an outstanding collection of his own. By 1920 he had become probably the most notorious modern artist working in Britain, condemned for the stylized treatment of form in some works and for the brazen nudity in others. Like Moore, Hepworth and many other early twentieth-century sculptors, Epstein wanted his carvings to reflect the individual qualities and form of the original block of stone. This tendency is often referred to as being 'true to the materials'.

Glossary terms

  • A radical English art movement of the early 20th century led by Wyndham Lewis. Influenced by the Futurists, they favoured urban, industrial subjects and promoted a hard-edged, angular style.