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Jacob Epstein: Portrait Sculptor

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Poets Cast in Bronze
Jacob Epstein, Portrait Sculptor, national portrait gallery
Bronze Head, 1912, by Jacob Epstein

Born in 1880, Sir Jacob Epstein was a controversial artist yet he is still considered one of the leading sculptors of his day. He had a diverse cultural heritage; his parents were Polish Jews but he was born in New York, studied in Paris, and worked in London. The main controversy over his work was over his depictions of nudity, but many of his other sculptors rewarded him with high acclaim, and led to a knighthood in 1954.

Epistein's most treasured works are probably his portrait sculptors, which are currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery until 24th November 2013. The exhibition showcases his work between the period of 1919-1951, and includes some of his celebrated pieces, such as busts of Joseph Conrad, T.S Eliot, Vaughan Williams, and George Bernard Shaw.

Although the portraits were sculpted based on observation, Epistein also experimented with the texture of clay and bronze, in which they were cast. This created a more expressive physical and psychological presence.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 24th Nov 2013
Phone: 44 (0) 20 7306 0055
Where: National Portrait Gallery
Cost: Free
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