Jacob Epstein

British, b.1880, d.1959

Viscount Air-Marshal Portal

  • 1943
  • Bronze
  • Bequeathed from the estate of Maureen Chute Raymond, 1979
  • Reproduced courtesy of The Estate of Jacob Epstein/Tate, London
  • 199 x 200 x 172mm
  • 79/315

In 1942 Jacob Epstein was commissioned by the British Ministry of Information to model a series of portraits of notable war leaders. Charles F.A. Portal, Viscount of Hungerford, (1893 -1971) served as British Air Chief Marshal during World War II, which included acting as Chief of Bomber Command and Chief of Air Staff (1940 -1945). Epstein modelled his portraits in a lively, immediate manner with textured surfaces. Rather than just faithfully recording his subjects, he looked for ways to bring out the personality of his subjects.

Epstein was born in New York of Russian / Polish parentage. He studied in New York and in Paris but settled in London in 1905. Two years later he became a British citizen. Epstein was associated with the Vorticist Movement, the first art movement in England to be dedicated to the principals of abstraction. He also became a founding member of the London Group in 1913. From this period on he began modelling portraits and busts. Epstein received a knighthood in 1954.