Ernest Bevin (1881-1951) was the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and a dominant figure in British left-wing politics. He was appointed Minister of Labour during the Second World War. This portrait belongs to Epstein’s series of war leaders, which was commissioned by the British government in 1943. It has been compared to an ancient Sumerian stone head owned by Epstein, reflecting Epstein’s interest in the sculpture of different eras and different cultures.
Jacob Epstein was born in New York in 1880 and died in London in 1959.