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Demons and Angels: A Life of Jacob Epstein…

Demons and Angels: A Life of Jacob Epstein

by June Rose

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786710004, Hardcover)

“I feel that I can do the best, most profound things and life is short. How I wish I was living in an age when man wanted to raise temples to man or God or the Devil.” Jacob Epstein was thirty when he wrote these impassioned words. Now recognized as a seminal figure in the history of twentieth-century art, his powerful and often explicit sculptures, monumental in scale, were hailed as the work of a genius by a few contemporary figures such as Ezra Pound and Augustus John, but produced hostility and censoriousness from the art establishment. His is a true rags-to-riches story. Epstein was born in 1880 in the Jewish Ghetto of New York but emigrated to Europe to live a bohemian life, with a wife and several mistresses in a domestic menage. By the time of his death in 1959 he had met almost everybody of importance in the art world and many in political and other spheres. He endured public scandals caused by the nudity of his so-called Strand Statues (1907-1908; destroyed 1937) and the debauched-looking angel on his 1912 memorial for Oscar Wilde, but in 1946 he modeled the portrait of Sir Winston Churchill and was himself knighted in 1954. It is a comment on changing tastes that Epstein’s magnificent carving in alabaster, “Jacob and the Angel,” once refused by the Tate Gallery, now stands in the Central Sculpture Hall of Tate Britain. His sculpture, drawing, and other work are to be found in museums and art galleries all over the world. Daemons and Angels, the first biography in fifty years of this controversial sculptor, features black-and-white photographs throughout.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:21 -0400)

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