Henry Kirke Brown1814 - 1886
Born: February 24, 1814, Leyden, Massachusetts
Died: 1886, Newburgh, New York
Henry Kirke Brown was born in 1814 in Leyden, Massachusetts. He studied portraiture with Chester Harding in Boston, who also introduced him to clay; Brown came to prefer that medium to painting in oils. With help from his wealthy friends and working as a civil engineer on the first railroad in Illinois, Brown had enough money to study in Italy, where he stayed for five years.
Unlike many European-trained artists in the United States, Brown's primary interest lay in American history and Native Americans. On his return from Italy, Brown traveled to various Indian settlements in Michigan and made sketches of his trips.
Brown was a pioneer in that he completed the first bronze statues to be cast in the United States. The Choosing of the Arrow was executed for the American Art Union, with 20 castings done in 1849, and a statue of De Witt Clinton was created for Brooklyn, New York's Green-Wood Cemetery in 1850. Brown also did portrait busts and equestrian statues in addition to sculptures of Native Americans. He died in Newburgh, New York in 1886.