Epstein was born on the 27th of February 1879 in Russia. She studied art in Moscow under Leonid Pasternak, a very well known Russian impressionist. Like many of her contemporaries Epstein was drawn to French impressionism and it’s artistic centre Paris. In 1898 she moved to Munich to continue her artistic education for almost ten years. It was there where she met Marianne von Werefkin and Wassily Kandinsky, two friendships that would have a great impact on her life and artistic career. Munich was the centre of the Russian-German Avant-Garde and Epstein was in the middle of it. In 1908 she decided to finally move to France, to Montparnasse. Here her works were published in the art magazine Les Tendances Nouvelles as well as exhibited in the Salon d’automne.
But like many of her female contemporaries she didn’t experience the same attention as her male counterparts. It was harder for a female artist to build a career. In an Essay that was published in 1913 in the art magazine “Der Sturm, Wochenschrift für Kultur und die Künste” with the title "Einige Gedanken über Bildentstehung" (=”thoughts on the emergence of a painting”) she compares the making of a painting with childbirth and pregnancy. The comparison between artistic creation and a very female act can be seen as a critique at the status quo, since creativity and artistic intellect was seen, art historically and socially, as a male characteristic. Epstein's comparison between motherhood and artistic creation has to be seen in the context of her being a female artist that is excluded from the chance of economic success in her career.