SIR JACOB EPSTEINBritish 1880 - 1959

Provenance: Arthur Tooth, London; Private collection, UK

SIR JACOB EPSTEINBritish 1880 - 1959

Though primarily known as a sculpture, like many artists in this medium before and after him, Epstein was a master draughtsman. Epstein's parents were Polish refugees living in New York's Lower East Side. He studied art there as a teenager, sketching the city, and joined The Art Students League of New York in 1900. Then he worked in a bronze foundry by day, studying drawing and sculptural modeling at night. Moving to Europe in 1902, he studied in Paris at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts, where Auguste Rodin taught him. He settled in London in 1905, and a few years later became a British Citizen. Epstein lived in a long-term relationship with Kathleen Garman, whom he married sometime after their daughter's birth in 1926. Their daughter, also named Kathleen, married painter Lucian Freud in 1948 and is mother of two of his daughters. He was knighted in 1954.

Epstein was awarded a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1953 by the Arts Council, and the following year he was knighted. He is remembered as one of the pioneers of modernist sculpture in Britain and his importance and continued relevance was underlined in the recent 'Wild Things' exhibition at the Royal Academy, where his work was exhibited alongside that of his contemporaries Eric Gill and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.