See Esther, Walsall's Mona Lisa
- Art Funded
- Four panels, 200 x 200 x 10 cm each
- Hayles Gallery
Smith has been involved in an extended project at Walsall working in partnership with an archivist to explore the undocumented Joseph Epstein Archive which has resulted in an online archive and 40 artworks. Smith expressed an interest in creating a myth around a single piece of work in the collection and selected Jacob Epstein's portrait Esther, saying that people should come to Walsall to see Esther in the same way that people go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. Comprising four panels, this piece deals specifically with Jacob Epsteins first portrait sculpture of his daughter, Esther, then aged 15. It is not clear whether Esther, whose life was cut tragically short, would have known that Epstein was her father at this stage, and Smith saw the sculpture as portraying a teenager resisting the inquisitive gaze of her father. The boards tell the story of Esthers life, of the strains that were put on her in the months leading up to her suicide, and of Smiths first encounter with Epsteins sculpture.