Sir Jacob Epstein
1880 - 1959
bronze sculpture, 1911
19 1/2 x 6 x 13 in 49.5 x 15.2 x 33 cm
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
Sold for: $20,000
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Madam Kathleen Epstein (wife of the Artist), London, England
Acquired from the above by Mrs. B. Raitblat, New York, 1960
Galerie Dresdnere, Toronto
Wallack Galleries, Ottawa
Acquired from the above as a gift for Germaine and Henri Masson, RCA, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, 1979
Edward P. Schinman and Babara Ann Schinman, editors, Jacob Epstein: A Catalogue of the Collection of Edward P. Schinman, 1970, a similar bronze reproduced page 39
Evelyn Silber, The Sculpture of Epstein: With a Complete Catalogue, 1986, pages 16, 19 and 57, reproduced page 130, catalogue #38
Sir Jacob Epstein is best known as one of the leading figurative sculptors of the twentieth century, whose pioneer work cleared the way for artists such as Henry Moore. Epstein was born in New York and moved to Europe in 1902. After studying at the École des beaux-arts and the Académie Julian in Paris, he moved to London in 1905. He became a British citizen in 1907, and he lived and worked in London for the remainder of his life.
After meeting Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncusi and Amedeo Modigliani on a trip to Paris during 1912 and 1913, when Epstein returned to London, he immediately became a founding member of the London Group, whose goal was to promote modern art in England. Epstein used various materials, including bronze and stone, to create realistic busts of well-known individuals and abstracted portrait carvings that were clearly inspired by more progressive and provocative non-Western influences. He often looked to the cultures of Egypt, Ancient Greece, China, Africa and Oceania for inspiration. Epstein produced public sculptures in London and the United States, and he was given a retrospective at the Tate museum in London in 1953.
Nan Seated was modeled after Nan Condron, a professional artist’s model whom Epstein was drawn to not only for her alluring appearance, but also for her lively presence and character. Condron was often called “the Gypsy model” by artists. Nan Seated is a very impressive sculpture that shows the model in a natural pose with her arms positioned above her head, adjusting her hair. This was a stance beloved by artists such as Edgar Degas, when painting female subjects. Nan Seated and Nan (The Dreamer) are the only two Epstein works based on Condron that have survived.
French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska described this sculpture in a letter to novelist Sophie Brzeska as “a little bronze, very beautiful, quite the nicest work of his I have seen – alive and sincere.” Gaudier-Brzeska admired Nan Seated so much that his later works, which show an elongation of limbs and a grace of movement, reflect the influence of this sculpture.
This work made its way across two continents – originally it was in the possession of Epstein’s wife, and it eventually was given as a gift for a 50th wedding anniversary to Canadian artist Henri Masson and his wife Germaine.
Included with this lot is a copy of a letter from Mrs. Kathleen Epstein, London, July 26, 1960, and a copy of a letter from John Wallack, Ottawa, to Henri Masson, RCA, August 16, 1979.
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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