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Jacob Epstein: Sculptor in Revolt

An iconoclast with a respect for tradition: Grace Brockington on one of the leading British sculptors of the 20th century

Grace Brockington

Sculptor in Revolt

Scandal on the Strand

Clay

Stone

Glossary

Arnold Haskell: dance critic and Director of the Royal Ballet School, who championed Epstein, and published their conversations on art as The Sculptor Speaks (1931)

Abstract art: art which is concerned with its own forms and patterns, rather than with depicting the outside world

Avant-garde: artists who initiate new practices and theories, often adopting a rebellious stance toward the status quo

Direct carving: the practice of working out a sculptural idea directly in stone, rather than copying a pre-conceived model. See also ‘truth to material’

Eric Gill: 1882-1940. Leading British sculptor, engraver and illustrator, who championed the revival of direct carving

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: 1891-1915. French sculptor and draughtsman, though in England for most of his career. He was a leading artist among the Vorticists, an avant-garde group active in Britain before the First World War. He was killed in action in the French army

Henry Moore: 1898-1986. Leading British sculptor and graphic artist, and pre-eminent after Epstein’s death. Like Epstein, he promoted the philosophy of truth to material, and took his inspiration from ancient and non-European sculpture

Realistic, or naturalist art: art which attempts accurately to portray external reality

Renaissance: meaning ‘rebirth’, refers to an intellectual and artistic movement which began in Italy in the 14th century, reached its peak in the 16th century, and spread throughout Europe. A complex phenomenon, it refers in art to the revival of classical forms, and the development of a naturalistic technique

Truth to material: the principle that the material used should influence the conception of a work of art. See also ‘direct carving’

Reading list

Richard Cork, Jacob Epstein, pub. Tate Publishing, 01/05/1999 www.amazon.co.uk

Jacob Epstein, Epstein, An Autobiography, pub. Arno P, 01/12/1975 www.amazon.co.uk

June Rose, Daemons and Angels: A Life of Jacob Epstein, pub. Baker & Taylor, 01/07/2002 www.amazon.co.uk

Evelyn Silber (ed.), Jacob Epstein: Sculpture and Drawings, pub. Henry Moore Sculpture Trust, 01/01/1987 www.amazon.co.uk

Evelyn Silber, The Sculpture of Epstein: With a Complete Catalogue, pub. Phaidon Press, 31/12/1986 www.amazon.co.uk

Author's Biography

Grace Brockington is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of English and Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her research concerns internationalism and the arts in Britain and Europe in the early twentieth century. She wrote her PhD on pacifism among artists and writers in Britain during the First World War, and is preparing the thesis for publication as a book, titled 'Modernism and the Peace Movement, 1900-1918'. She has also written on Jacob Epstein for 'Art and Architecture', and on the Bloomsbury Group for 'Immediations: The Research Journal of the Courtauld Institute of Art' (1, Spring 2004). Email: grace.brockington@wolfson.ox.ac.uk

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