Lot 107: SIR JACOB EPSTEIN, 1880-1959, RABINDRANATH TAGORE
The Indian Sale
May 23, 2006
London, United Kingdom
height 52cm., 20 1/2 in.
Bronze with a green patina
Bobby Jackson, Manchester
Clifford Whittaker, Lancashire, purchased from the above 1951, and thence by family descent to the present owner
Birmingham, Ruskin Gallery, Bronze Sculpture by Jacob Epstein, 1927, no.1 (another cast);
New York, Ferargil Gallery, Sculpture by Jacob Epstein, 1927, no.19 (another cast);
London, Leicester Galleries, Fifty Years of Bronzes and Drawings by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), (exhibition no.1191), June-July 1960, no.22 (another cast);
Leeds, City Art Galleries and London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Jacob Epstein: Sculpture and Drawings, April-September 1987, no.91, illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, p.192 (another cast).
Arnold Haskell, The Sculptor Speaks: Jacob Epstein to Arnold Haskell: A Series of Conversations on Art, Heinemann, 1931, p.185;
L.B. Powell, Jacob Epstein, Chapman & Hall, 1932, illustrated (another cast);
Jacob Epstein, Let There be Sculpture, Michael Joseph, 1940, pp.111-12;
R. Black, The Art of Jacob Epstein, World Publishing Company, New York and Cleveland, 1942, p.236, no.125;
Jacob Epstein, Epstein: An Autobiography, Hulton, London, 1955, p.92, illustrated (another cast);
R. Buckle, Jacob Epstein Sculptor, Faber & Faber, 1963, pp.146-8, plates 224-5;
E.P. and B.A. Schinman (eds.), Jacob Epstein: A Catalogue of the Collection of Edward P. Schinman, Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970, p.37, illustrated (another cast);
Evelyn Silber, The Sculpture of Epstein, Phaidon, Oxford, 1986, no.172, illustrated p.160 (cast 1).
Conceived in 1926 and cast in an edition of 16, the present work is the second cast of the series with a slightly wider shoulder base than others. The last version of the series, sold in these rooms in November 1982, is now in the Government Art Collection.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali poet and novelist found fame in the West following the publication of his Gitanjali: Song Offerings in 1912. Though translated into English by the author himself, W.B.Yeats in his introduction to the first edition accorded his work the highest praise writing: 'These lyrics... display in their thought a world I have dreamed of all my life long'. The following year, Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1915 he was awarded a knighthood (an honour he later surrendered in protest against the Massacre of Amritsar). A man of great presence and gravitas, Tagore weilded considerable political clout and his influence over Gandhi has been well documented. However, it is as the outstanding creative writer of modern India and the voice of her spiritual heritage that he is best remembered.