Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

Basic HTML Version

— W
r it ings
o f
ew ish
had been shot at once, people would have been spared all this
commotion!׳’) . An English edition,
Letters to His Son Lucien,
with many illustrations, was prepared by Tohn Rewald (׳New
York, 1943).
Autobiographical Essay by Schatz
The sculptor Boris Schatz (1867-1933) wrote an autobio-
graphical essay in 1905, the year before he embarked upon the
trip to Palestine where he was to found the Bezalel Academy.
In 1925 an abridged version in Hebrew was published in Jerusa-
lem (the volume contains numerous postage-stamp size illustra-
tions on the margins of the text, and forty very large illustra-
tions following it). A substantial excerpt, “The Death and Birth
of an Artist,” is contained in the above-mentioned anthology,
Memoirs of My People.
I t relates a touching meeting between
young Boris and the already world-famous Antokolski who,
despite the current pogroms, held an optimistic view:
“. . . he spoke of the necessity of Jews remaining in Russia and
of getting closer to the people, the language, the literature, of
sharing the country’s joys and sorrows so that we learn to ex-
press them in our art and become an organic part of its national
spirit. Poor dreamer!”
Tha t William Rothenstein (1872-1945) felt he had struck
deep roots in his native country is less surprising, for there was
hardly any anti-Semitism in England. Rothenstein was made
principal of the Royal Academy of Art, and was knighted at
the conclusion of his career. He was known as a portraitist, and
as the author of numerous paintings based on Jewish subjects. Of
his many literary works, his recollections,
Men and Memories
(published in London in three large volumes between 1931 and
1939), are the most interesting. (His son, John Rothenstein, di-
rector of the Tate Gallery, has severed his connection with
Whereas Rothenstein came from a well-to-do, assimilated
family, Jacob Epstein’s parents were poor Polish immigrants who
settled on the lower East Side of New York. In
Let There Be
(New York, 1942, reissued in 1955 in a slightly revised
and expanded version under the title
Epstein: An Autobiography)
the artist writes with nostalgia about the New York ghetto where
he was born in 1880 (“Rembrandt would have delighted in the
East Side”), although the bulk of the book is devoted to the artist’s
fight with arch-conservative critics. While the text up to 1940 is
quite bitter in tone, the “Post-script: 1954” reveals Epstein as a
very successful and satisfied old man, swamped with commissions,
about to execute the “Social Consciousness” group for the Fair-
mount Park Art Association of Philadelphia. Sir Jacob Epstein
died in London four years after the publication of the new edition
of his autobiography.