British, born United States, 1880-1959
Jacob Epstein is considered a champion of modernist sculpture and lauded for his perceptive depictions of his subjects’ characters. In his 1940 autobiography, Epstein recounts how he was inspired by a young woman who passed him on the street one day. Attracted to her “delicate and aristocratic beauty,” he asked her to pose for him, and she agreed. Her name was Madeleine Bechet. At the same time, Epstein was reading a book by a French military officer with the same last name, who, shockingly, turned out to be Madeleine’s father. The story recounted the author’s rescue of a young Senegalese girl from a caravan of captured slaves.
Label from Picasso: The Artist and His Models, November 5, 2016–February 19, 2017