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Dead Cats and Fungi

Robert Taubman, 20 March 1980

by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 255 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 340 24565 4
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The Mirror of the Giant 
by Penelope Shuttle.
Marion Boyars, 165 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 0 7145 2679 7
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Another Part of the Wood 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 7156 1458 4
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Wild Oats 
by Jacob Epstein.
Alison Press/Secker, 267 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 436 14826 9
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In the Secret State 
by Robert McCrum.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £5.95, February 1980, 0 241 10322 3
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... to the American comedy style of the late Seventies and to an ever more dreadful vernacular, Jacob Epstein has quite an old friend as hero, the perennial American college boy. Wild Oats is indeed fairly predictable on Billy’s easy fantasies, tunafish sandwiches, asthma pills; the parent problem; the girlfriend who is ‘the girl in all the ...

Can I have my shilling back?

Peter Campbell, 19 November 1992

EpsteinArtist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... Jacob Epstein made, roughly speaking, three kinds of sculpture. There were busts and portrait heads in bronze, which pretty well everybody liked. I remember returning again and again to the photographs of them in his autobiography, particularly to the long-necked high-cheekboned girls who seemed as romantic as Picasso’s sad blue and pink people, but more substantial ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken, 30 April 2009

... to the Whitechapel Boys: the group of Jewish painters and writers (they included David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg) who met in the library in the early decades of the 20th century. In the space at the top of the old library building is a selection, made by Michael Craig-Martin, of ‘great early buys from the British ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: Hepworth, 27 August 2015

... Henry Moore, Ursula Edgcumbe, John Skeaping – making common cause with a slightly older cohort, Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, Gaudier-Brzeska, Elsie Henderson, Alan Durst. In works produced both before and after World War One, they began to remake the look and feel of the carving tradition. Dark hardwood and mottled native (i.e. English) stone were more ...

It didn’t look like a bird

Michael Wood: The New Formalism, 27 August 2015

Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network 
by Caroline Levine.
Princeton, 173 pp., £19.95, January 2015, 978 0 691 16062 7
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... bird, and a recent federal ruling had defined art as a set of ‘imitations of natural objects’. Jacob Epstein argued, however, that the title was not a description but the beginning of an interpretation. ‘Epstein offered the court a theory of art as that which would not repeat but would transform the perceptions ...

Fouling the nest

Anthony Julius, 8 April 1993

Modern British Jewry 
by Geoffrey Alderman.
Oxford, 397 pp., £40, September 1992, 0 19 820145 1
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... focus. Most notable were the painters Solomon J. Solomon ... and Mark Gertler ... The sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein (1880–1959), born to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents in New York, came to Paris in 1902 and settled in London three years later.” What are we to understand by ‘very Jewish’? That many artists were Jewish? A statement of this kind ...

False Moderacy

T.J. Clark: Picasso and Modern British Art, 22 March 2012

Picasso and Modern British Art 
Tate Britain, 15 February 2012 to 15 July 2012Show More
Mondrian Nicholson: In Parallel 
Courtauld Gallery, 16 February 2012 to 20 May 2012Show More
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... sculpture was associated from the beginning in the 20th century with the genuinely scandalous. Jacob Epstein was an embarrassing figure. Even in Paris his work looked appalling. Bloomsbury recoiled from him as much as Fleet Street (with its usual hypocritical populism) did. Jews and Frenchmen – Epstein and ...


Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... in the Austrian Tyrol, continued undisturbed.’ Pound carried on fighting for T.S. Eliot. Jacob Epstein told his patron John Quinn: ‘My business as I see it is to get on with my work ... Everybody here is war-mad. But my life has always been war.’ Well, in a manner of speaking, perhaps. James took the figurative mode to greater heights: ‘My ...


Adam Phillips: ‘Paranoid Modernism’, 22 May 2003

The Short Sharp Life of T.E. Hulme 
by Robert Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 314 pp., £20, November 2002, 0 7139 9490 8
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Paranoid Modernism: Literary Experiment, Psychosis and the Professionalisation of English Society 
by David Trotter.
Oxford, 358 pp., £35, September 2001, 0 19 818755 6
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... sin in it, and was one of the first people to defend the Modernism of the abstract art of Bomberg, Epstein and Gaudier-Brzeska against the apparent progressivism of Roger Fry and Bloomsbury. He had found his preferred version of human nature in Byzantine art, and its recovery in these abstract Modernists. One of the many things that is so interesting about ...

Walking like Swinburne

P.N. Furbank, 12 July 1990

Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant 
by Philip Hoare.
Hamish Hamilton, 463 pp., £20, June 1990, 0 241 12416 6
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... with a willowy twist and droop of the limbs that captivated spectators of every persuasion. When Jacob Epstein, who sculpted him, was asked who was the most beautiful person, male or female, he had ever seen, he replied: ‘Oh Stephen Tennant, Stephen Tennant, absolutely without a doubt.’ It may be added that Thomas Hardy said that Tennant was the ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... spell at the Slade lived the life of an aesthete-dilettante: ‘with a friend he brought the young Jacob Epstein from America, helping to pay his keep.’ His first marriage quickly collapsed and was followed by a breakdown. His second wife, Kate Kirby, who was to prove his indispensable and warmly-praised partner at the Spreadeagle, was ‘practical and ...

So South Kensington

Julian Bell: Walter Sickert, 20 September 2001

The Complete Writings on Art 
by Walter Sickert, edited by Anna Gruetzner Robins.
Oxford, 699 pp., £90, September 2000, 0 19 817225 7
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... become the genial, roguish grandfather of art, indulgently supportive of young tearaways such as Jacob Epstein, Stanley Spencer and even D.H. Lawrence, part-time painter, when they hit trouble with the British establishment. Yet the phenomenon of Cézanne persisted, and nagged at him, an affront to his capacity to master the scene. He frets away at this ...


Mark Ford: Love and Theft, 2 December 2004

... are analysed along with that of the Victorian novelist Charles Reade, and the American writer Jacob Epstein, whose first novel, Wild Oats (1979), included a number of sentences taken straight from The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis. These plagiarists, he found, nearly always used the notebook defence: they’d copied out passages by authors they ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... of the portraits from the previous few years. She was the illegitimate daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein. The couple set up house in St John’s Wood, but Freud kept his old quarters at Delamere Terrace. According to one of his constant companions, ‘Lu would tell Kitty that [we] were going to work together when really [we] worked an hour or so ...

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