Art: Volcanic Knight

Sculptor Jacob Epstein, who died last week, was born 78 years ago into the brawling, colorful, self-contained world of Manhattan's Lower East Side. His Polish immigrant parents prospered and moved uptown, but young Epstein, by choice, swam with the rats in the East River, peered wistfully under the swinging doors of Bowery saloons, grew up belligerent and ravenous for experience. He wanted a life with size and shape, and that was what he forged for himself.

Epstein studied at Manhattan's Art Students League, made a little money as an illustrator. In his early 203...

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