WITH the arrival of the photographer, both painters and sculptors lost the impetus for what through the ages was one of their main functions: recording the great, the vain and the beloved for posterity. One of the few topflight 20th century sculptors who kept at portraiture is Britain's U.S.-born Sir Jacob Epstein, 77. Best known for the press outbursts that until recently greeted such Epstein works as his pregnant Genesis, blocklike Ecce Homo, and misshapen Adam, Epstein holds that portraits rank with the monumental in sculpture. "It's good stuff," he says. "What could be more interesting than a human face?"

Sir Jacob...

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