The New Art Gallery Walsall acquired a large archive from the Epstein family containing lots of artefacts and information about the life of Jacob Epstein and his family and friends. We hold many documents, photographs, letters, books and audio visual material relating to Jacob Epstein and the Garman family.
In addition our Archives also contain a vast range of information about the building, our art collections and past exhibitions programme.
From 2009-2011, an Archive Curator, Neil Lebeter, was appointed who worked in collaboration with artist Bob and Roberta Smith, as part of the New Ways of Curating programme, to unearth the secrets of the Epstein Archive and interpret it in new and exciting ways. During their two year residency they rifled through the letters, photographs and documents held in the Epstein Archive, creating new works and short films in response to what was found. In September 2011, Bob and Roberta Smith’s Epstein Archive Gallery opened on Floor 1.
Displaying contemporary art and archives side by side, Bob and Roberta Smith’s Epstein Archive Gallery showcases the extraordinary and tragic story of the Epstein-Garman family. The book of the project, How To Let An Artist Rifle Through Your Archives, is available in the Gallery Shop and in the Art Library.
The short films that Bob and Neil created, along with other films created by the Gallery, can be viewed here and they are also available to view in the Archive Gallery itself.