Lot 221: Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959)

Christie's

November 19, 2004, 12:00 AM EST
London, United Kingdom
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Description: Second Portrait of George Bernard Shaw (head)
signed 'Epstein' (on the neck)
bronze with a dark brown patina
18 1/2 in. (47 cm.) high
Conceived in 1934.
Artist or Maker: Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959)
Literature: J. Epstein, Let There Be Sculpture, London, 1940, pp. 99-101, another cast illustrated.
J. Epstein, An Autobiography, London, 1955, pp. 81-83, another cast illustrated.
R. Buckle, Jacob Epstein Sculpture, London, 1963, pp. 210-11, pl. 323, another cast illustrated.
E. Silber, The Sculpture of Epstein, Oxford, 1986, p. 178, no. 253, cast 17, another cast illustrated.
Provenance: Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, Toronto, 16 October 1967, lot 83, where purchased by the present owner.
Notes: Property from the Estate of Mrs Charles W. Engelhard

Of the portrait of George Bernard Shaw, Epstein wrote, 'I think that there are in it elements so subtle that they would be difficult to explain... He walked to my studio every day, and was punctual and conscientious. In matters of art he aired definite opinions, mostly wrong. Throughout my life in England, Shaw was an outspoken champion of my work... He was generous to young talent'. Shaw wrote the sculptor a long letter 'Your first sketch... is a brilliant thumbnail version of me as I am. Then you went on to perform marvels of modelling on lips and cheeks and mouth with all the mastery that makes your busts precious' (see R. Buckle, Jacob Epstein Sculptor, London, 1963, pp. 210-11).

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