Jul 16, 2020 - Sale 2541

Sale 2541 - Lot 73

Price Realized: $ 5,200
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
"The Two Good Sisters." Illustration for Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) by Charles Baudelaire (London: Printed for members of the Limited Editions Club at the Fanfare Press, 1940). Pencil on paper mounted to board. 577x450mm; 22 3/4x17 3/4 inches, on 25 1/2x21-inch board. Signed "Epstein" in upper right image. Some foxing and discoloration. Matted and framed. Accompanied by a copy of the book.

Jacob Epstein, now recognized as a pioneer of modern British sculpture, continued to cultivate his talent for drawing even after turning to sculpture as his primary medium. While studying in Paris in 1904, Epstein read Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and was moved by his vision of man's struggle between good and evil, a theme which had renewed resonance in the 1930s in the years leading up to World War II.

After a chance meeting in Paris in 1936 with George Macy, founder of the Limited Editions Club of New York, the artist was invited to illustrate a book of his choice. The resulting series produced to accompany Baudelaire's poems shows Epstein's adept skill in producing captivating images that reflect man's intrinsic moral conflict. Epstein stated: "Solely to satisfy a craving of my own I have made these drawings…This Bible of the modern man has long called to me, and brooding upon the powerful and subtle images evoked by long reading, a world comes forth filled with splendid and maleficent entities." (Epstein quoted in An Exhibition of Drawings by Jacob Epstein for 'Les Fleurs du Mal' of Charles Baudelaire (exh. cat.). Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., London, 1938, n.p.) The Two Good Sisters illustrates the figures of Debauch and Death.