Loan exhibit - Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill
18th Feb 2010 - 5th Aug 2010
Visit the Living Area to view Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill, on loan from Tate
Sir Jacob Epstein
American-born Sir Jacob Epstein began his career studying in Paris between 1902 and 1905 before settling in London. Along with other avant-garde artists of the early 20th century, Epstein looked to ancient and primitive art forms for inspiration and was committed to direct carving, in reponse to the concept of truth to materials.
Epstein was a leading exponent of the British Vorticist movement and founding member of the London Group, established in 1913 as a reaction to more conservative art groups. Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill was exhibited in the first exhibition held by the London Group in 1914 at the Goupil Gallery, along with works by artists such as David Bomberg and Mark Gertler.
The bronze sculpture was originally set as a plaster figure on top of pneumatic rock drill. In response to the outbreak of the First World War, Epstein decided to remove the drill and change the arms of the sculpture, which resulted in this bronze cast. The once menacing figure now has a more defenceless and sombre appearance in order to portray both the horror of war and more generally, modern brutality.
The work of Jacob Epstein significantly influenced the development of the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. Epstein's Baby Asleep 1902-04, is both the artist's first known sculpture and the first sculpture acquired by Sir Robert. Later the artist modelled portrait busts of Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury which now stand at the entrance to the Living Area Gallery. Epstein shared their passion for collecting world art and was a champion of the work of the young Henry Moore, with whom the Sainsburys enjoyed an enduring friendship.