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Dead Cats and Fungi

Robert Taubman

20 March 1980
Puffball 
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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... skill in close observation has a compassionate quality: it doesn’t humiliate its object. Though sensitive to the American comedy style of the late Seventies and to an ever more dreadful vernacular, JacobEpstein 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 ...
19 November 1992
EpsteinArtist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... JacobEpstein 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 ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken

30 April 2009
... room there is currently a display of letters, books, catalogues, paintings and drawings relating to the Whitechapel Boys: the group of Jewish painters and writers (they included David Bomberg, JacobEpstein, 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 ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: Hepworth

26 August 2015
... in her St Ives studio. At the start, we find Hepworth and the other carvers of her generation – Henry Moore, Ursula Edgcumbe, John Skeaping – making common cause with a slightly older cohort, JacobEpstein, 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 ...

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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... 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed a flowering of talent, much of which was very Jewish in its focus. Most notable were the painters Solomon J. Solomon ... and Mark Gertler ... The sculptor Sir JacobEpstein (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 ...

Anglo-America

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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... his own work.’ But those who stayed behind were even more remote from reality. ‘John Sargent, painting in the Austrian Tyrol, continued undisturbed.’ Pound carried on fighting for T.S. Eliot. JacobEpstein 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 ...

It didn’t look like a bird

Michael Wood: The New Formalism

26 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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... in 1926, was a work of art. The law seemed to think it wasn’t, because it didn’t look like a bird, and a recent federal ruling had defined art as a set of ‘imitations of natural objects’. JacobEpstein 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 ...

Hauteur

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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... sense of reality – a time before Romanticism. He loathed anything without the ballast of original 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 ...

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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... use, career-wise. And further – I cannot decide if this is coincidence or part of the same story – sculpture was associated from the beginning in the 20th century with the genuinely scandalous. JacobEpstein 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 – ...
7 May 1981
... fact that, in the earlier incident, Amis as the aggrieved author ‘showed himself notably unresentful and unlitigious’.The incident occurred in the Observer last October, when Amis revealed, and JacobEpstein admitted, that passages from The Rachel Papers had been incorporated in Epstein’s first novel, Wild Oats. Amis declared his admiration for Epstein’s book (Epstein’s apologetic answer ...

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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... him in exile, before taking a calculated decision to drop him. At 21 he inherited money and after a spell at the Slade lived the life of an aesthete-dilettante: ‘with a friend he brought the young JacobEpstein 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 ...

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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... When, after the war and a period of personal troubles, Sickert returned to the critical fray, he had become the genial, roguish grandfather of art, indulgently supportive of young tearaways such as JacobEpstein, 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 ...
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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... he was, as a young man, astonishingly beautiful, with a thinness and grace and way of holding himself with a willowy twist and droop of the limbs that captivated spectators of every persuasion. When JacobEpstein, 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 ...

Saving Masud Khan

Wynne Godley: Psychoanalysis

22 February 2001
... six years hemiplegic and helpless, her mind altered. She told her nurses that they were ‘lower-class scum’ and complained that I was ‘marrying the daughter of a New York yid’. This yid was JacobEpstein. Soon after my mother died I had a dream. I saw her in a bathtub in which there was no water. She was paralysed from the waist down and instead of the pubic hair I had seen as a young child ...

Diary

Mark Ford: Love and Theft

2 December 2004
... Sterne and Coleridge from literary shoplifters into masters of bricolage and intertextuality. Their cases are analysed along with that of the Victorian novelist Charles Reade, and the American writer JacobEpstein, 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 ...

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