Sir Jacob Epstein
Born 10 November 1880
Died 19 August 1959
Active: 1904 - 1959
Country of birth: United States
Country of death: England
Born New York. Prolific portrait sculptor, produced many important carved works in earlier part of 20th century, carried out numerous major commissions into the late 1950s. Studied at Art Students’ League, New York 1894-1902; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris 1902. Visited and settled in London in 1905, naturalised in 1910. Earlier important work includes figures for British Medical Association building, London 1907-8, Rima (memorial to W.H. Hudson) in Hyde Park, unveiled 1925 and Day and Night on London Transport Headquarters building 1928-9. Various honours, knighthood 1954.
Commissions include: Youth Advancing for Festival of Britain 1951; Madonna and Child for Cavendish Square, London unveiled 1953 ; Christ in Majesty for Llandaff Cathedral, 1953-53; St. Michael and the Devil Coventry Cathedral 1955-56; Liverpool Resurgent unveiled 1956; T.U.C. war memorial for Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, unveiled 1958; Bowater House group, Knightsbridge, London 1958-59.
Exhibitions include: LCC 1948, 51, 54, 57, 60; SB 1951; Tate Gallery, London 1952 (retrospective);
Collections include: Tate Gallery; Arts Council; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Leeds City Art Galleries; Walsall Art Gallery.
Further reading: Various authors, Jacob Epstein, Sculpture and Drawings, Leeds City Art Galleries/Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1987, (exh. cat. includes essays and extensive information).
E. Silber, The Sculpture of Epstein, (Oxford: Phaidon, 1986).
S. Gardiner, Epstein: Artist Against the Establishment, (London, 1992).
Biography from Whiteley (2001) with additional information from Silber (2004)
Wealth at death: £55,972 10s. 11d.
Probate date: 14 July 1960
Dates are usually the year a work was exhibited so may differ from date of production.
New entries have been made each time a work was exhibited. Click here for more information.
Lent Suckling Child
to 1931 Leicester Galleries exhibition
Lent Mother and Child
lent to 1931 Leicester Galleries exhibition
Mrs Jacob Epstein
Peggy Jean asleep
Bethel Solomons, FRCPI, FACS, Hon.
Exhibitions, Meetings, Awards and other Events
Exhibited at Exhibition of Fair Women (International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London), 1910
Exhibited at Exhibition of Recent Sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1920
Exhibited at An Exhibition of the Sculpture of Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1917
Exhibited at Exhibition of New Sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1924
Exhibited at Festival of Britain, London: South Bank Exhibition, 1951
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, The One-Hundred-and-First, 1927
'The Rt Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald, MP'
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, The One-Hundred-and-Twenty-First, 1947
'R. B. Cunninghame Graham'
Exhibited at The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Seventy-Fourth Annual Exhibition, 1935
Exhibited at The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Seventy-Eighth Annual Exhibition, 1939
Exhibited at London Group Exhibition, 1914-1939
1914 - 1930
Exhibited & times, an average of four works per show
Exhibited at Exhibition of new work in sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1926
Exhibited at Exhibition of Bronze Sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Ruskin Galleries), 1927
Exhibited at Exhibition of Modern Paintings and Sculpture lent by The Corporation of Manchester, Rutherston Loan Scheme (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), 1929
16 September 1929 - 7 December 1929
Exhibited on sculpture in bronze; the work is undated in the catalogue, p. 3 (23).
Exhibited at Exhibition of New Sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1931
February 1931 - March 1931
Exhibited at Jacob Epstein Exhibition (Leicester Galleries), 1933
May 1933 - May
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts (Summer Exhibition), 1768-
1934 - 1953
Exhibited twice (1934, 1953), two works (in 1934 'Einstein', head, bronze, Chantrey work, cat. no. 1593 and 'Mrs Ambrose McEvoy', bust, bronze, cat. no. 1280. Purchased by the President and Council under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest). A portrait of Princess Margaret (cat no. 1437) was shown posthumously in 1960.
Exhibited at Jacob Epstein Exhibition. (Behold the Man) (Leicester Galleries), 1935
Exhibited at An exhibition of sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Consumatum Est) (Leicester Galleries), 1937
Exhibited at Palace of Arts Empire Exhibition Scotland, 1938
Exhibited at The Jacob Epstein Exhibition (Adam) (Leicester Galleries), 1939
Exhibited at Exhibition of flower paintings and some new bronzes by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1940
Exhibited at 'Jacob and the Angel' and new bronzes by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1942
Exhibited at 'Girl with Gardenias' and other recent sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1944
Exhibited at Jacob Epstein 'Lucifer' and paintings of flowers and landscapes of Epping Forest (Leicester Galleries), 1945
Exhibited at Jacob Epstein New Sculpture (Leicester Galleries), 1947
Exhibited at A new carving 'Lazarus' and other Recent Sculpture by Jacob Epstein (Leicester Galleries), 1950
Exhibited at Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, 1951
23 April 1951 - 2 June 1951
Exhibited at Festival of Britain, London: Ten Decades, a Review of British Taste, 1851-1951, 1951
Epstein exhibited a work in bronze entitled 'Dolores'. The work was lent by the Leicester Galleries, London.
Wrote catalogue for Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings by Henry Moore (Leicester Galleries), 1931
Epstein contributed a prefatory notice
Institutional and Business Connections
Adjudicated on a panel at British Artists' Exhibitions
Member of London Group
Founding member 1913, Honorary member 1915-17
Unsuccessful in ballot for election to Royal Academy of Arts
Nominated in 1925; 1928 only recieved one nomination and so presumably could not stand for election again.
Personal and Professional Connections
Assistant was David McFall
1944 - 1958 (Circa)
The date at which McFall ceased working for Epstein is unconfirmed, it may have been in 1956.
Influenced Henry Spencer Moore
Moore and Raymond Coxon visited Jacob Epstein's studio and collection of African, Oceanic, and north-west coast art in 1921. In later life Moore said he met Epstein in 1928. (Wilkinson, ODNB, 2004)
Nominated by Charles Shannon
19 May 1925
For RA; unsuccessful.
Nominated by Henry Poole
19 May 1925
For RA; unsuccessful. Nomination withdrawn at unspecified date.
Nominated by John Lavery
19 May 1925
For RA; unsuccessful.
Nominated by Francis Dodd
13 February 1928
For RA; unsuccessful (sole nomination for Epstein in 1928, three needed to stand).
Descriptions of Practice
Occupation given in Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
'Sculptor (artist)' working on own account at home
Catalogue of an Exhibition of Water-Colours and Drawings by a Group of Artists Serving with His Majesty's Forces, including Recent Sculpture by Jacob Epstein
Listed in catalogue as 'Private Jacob Epstein'.
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
RG14PN412 RG78PN13 RD4 SD2 ED15 SN59
Ernest Brown & Phillips Ltd., The Leicester Galleries. An index of 1422 catalogues of exhibitions of European Modern Art and 20th Century British Art, held between 1902 and 1977
http://www.ernestbrownandphillips.ltd.uk/Static/general.html (accessed 1 November 2010)
Exhibition of Bronze Sculpture by Jacob Epstein, November 1927 Ruskin Galleries
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Evelyn Silber, 'Epstein, Sir Jacob (1880-1959)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33025, accessed 6 May 2008] Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33025
Ten Decades a review of British Taste, 1851-1951. A Festival of Britain Exhibition organised by the Institute of Contemporary Art by arrangement with the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1951
The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1861-1989. Volume 2, E-K. A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1991 The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1861-1989
Citing this record
'Sir Jacob Epstein', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib2_1204841120, accessed 30 Apr 2017]