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Adam and Eve
© the artist's estate / Tate Images. Photo credit: Watford Museum

Adam and Eve 1939

Jacob Epstein (1880–1959)

Watford Museum

(b New York, 10 Nov. 1880; d London, 19 Aug. 1959). American-born sculptor (and occasional painter and illustrator) who settled in England in 1905 and became a British citizen in 1910. Before then, in 1902–5, he had studied in Paris and visits to the Louvre aroused an interest in ancient and primitive sculpture that lasted all his life and powerfully affected his work. His first important commission was executed in 1907–8: eighteen over-life-size figures for the façade of the British Medical Association's headquarters in the Strand. The nude figures aroused a furore of abuse on the grounds of alleged obscenity and were mutilated in 1937 when the building was bought by the government of Southern Rhodesia. Such verbal attacks and acts of vandalism were to become a feature of Epstein's career.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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