In the 1930s, Epstein was commissioned by the Dutch firm Ascher & Velker to produce a series of flower studies. To fulfil his task, Epstein went to Epping Forest, Essex, and commenced ‘a frenzy of painting’. Although he only agreed to paint 20 flower studies, Epstein admitted that he ended up painting over 300 – ‘I lived and painted flowers. My rooms were piled with flowers, and this was a wonderful and colourful period.’
Sir Jacob Epstein
Dahlias and Sunflower
Original: Watercolour and gouache on paper 55.8 x 43.1 cm Tate. Presented through the Friends of the Tate Gallery, Helena and Kenneth Levy Bequest 1990 © The Estate of Sir Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein (1880 – 1959) was a sculptor, painter and illustrator. Born in New York to Polish-Jewish parents, Epstein studied art in both America and Paris before moving to London in 1905 and becoming a British citizen two years later. He was a founding member of the London Group, and an important figure in modernist sculpture, sculpting avant-garde monuments and portraits using direct carving techniques and taking inspiration from tribal and early folk art. He was knighted in 1954.