Sir Jacob Epstein
Portrait Bust of Paul Robeson (1898 - 1879) 1928
Bronze, 34.5 x 21.5 cm
York City Art Gallery, UK (purchased 1955)
© estate of the artist, 1997



Sir Jacob Epstein

Sir Jacob Epstein was born in New York and studied drawing while working in a bronze foundry. In 1902 he went to the École des Beaux-Arts and the Acadêmie Julian, Paris. During this time visits to the Louvre aroused his interest in ancient and primitive sculpture which was a continuing influence on his work.

"...If the emphasis Epstein placed on naturalism, character and expression was a traditional one going back to Rodin, Donatello and the great portraitists of the Ancient world - the Egyptians and Sumerians, the portraits themselves broke new ground. During the 1920s most were not commissioned; they were friends, casual acquaintances and people stopped in the street and asked if they were willing to come to the studio. Amongst them were many...American blacks, Africans, Indians, Asians and people of mixed race - people who, if depicted at all, were treated as 'picturesque' or exotic."

Evelyn Silber and Terry Friedman, '1920-1929 Portraits', Jacob Epstein, Sculpture and Drawings.

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