SETTING the highest price ever seen at auction for Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), this lifesize sculpture of a mother and child, overshot its £60,000-80,000 estimate at Sotheby's latest sale of Modern British art in London before being knocked down to a private buyer at £120,000.
Understandably, however, some may ask why the record price for
an artist who is regarded as one of the most important early 20th
century sculptors is not higher.
The reason is simply that no example of the American-born
artist's seminal pre-First World War casts has appeared on the open
market in the last 30 years and almost all are now in public
However, this 5ft 6in (1.68m) bronze was the next best
It was conceived in 1911 and was one of three works cast later
in 1933. In all, between 1907 and 1917 Epstein produced 14 works
that deal with the theme of pregnancy and birth.
Having been acquired by Sotheby's American vendor directly from
Lady Epstein in 1963, it was also fresh to the market but, having
been kept outdoors for some time, it required a minor wash and wax
for the viewing.
Mother and Child Standing was one of five works by the
artist at the sale on May 26 that came from the US and raised a
total of £256,500.
The buyer's premium was 25/20/12 per cent.
By Alex Capon