Wednesday 16 May 2018 - Evelyn Silber

Barbarian, rebel, pioneer - Jacob Epstein "taking the brickbats for modern art"

In 1959, Henry Moore paid tribute to Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) as the man who "took the brickbats for modern art, and as far as sculpture in this country is concerned, he took them first."

American born, trained in Paris, he lived and worked in England from 1906 onwards. Epstein became known both as a pioneer of direct carving influenced by non-European art, and a prominent member of the pre-1914 London avant-garde.

Though he later became the leading portrait sculptor of his generation he was also a confrontational figure who challenged sexual taboos and whose larger scale work, like that of Stanley Spencer, took a highly individual and controversial path.

This talk will consider some the works that became the stuff of cartoons, limericks, music hall jokes and were even shown in a Blackpool side show.

These include his sculptures for the British Medical Association Building in the Strand (1907-8), his relief carving of Rima for the W H Hudson memorial in Hyde Park (1924-5), his sculptures for the London Underground and the sequence of large free-standing carvings, including Genesis, Adam and Jacob and the Angel, produced during the 1930s.

about our lecturer:

Dr. Evelyn Silber is currently Honorary Professorial Research Fellow (History of Art) at the University of Glasgow, and is the author of books on Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
Educated at the universities of Cambridge and Pennsylvania, she worked at Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries, then from 1995-2001 was Director of Leeds Museums and Galleries, subsequently Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow from 2001-6.
She is a former chair of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.

Dr Silber has lectured for societies, universities and museums in Britain and the USA as well as lecturing for ADFAS in Australia and The Arts Society in New Zealand in 2014.  She advises and leads cultural tours in and around Glasgow.