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Bust of an American Indian

A work made of bronze on bronze plinth.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze on bronze plinth.


Modeled 1848–49, cast 1849


Henry Kirke Brown
American, 1814–1886

About this artwork

Most mid-19th-century artists relied on romantic, often inaccurate conceptions of Native Americans, yet some, including Henry Kirke Brown, traveled west hoping to attain firsthand knowledge of their subjects. In September and October 1848, Brown journeyed to Michigan—then the American frontier—to create models of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians in preparation for a sculpture commissioned by the American Art Union. The resulting miniature portrait bust reveals the artist’s careful attention to details of physiognomy and hair; the figure thus displays a sympathetic naturalism and commanding nobility of presence.


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Arts of the Americas


Henry Kirke Brown


Bust of an American Indian


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Modeled 1848–1849


Bronze on bronze plinth


20.3 × 8.6 × 6 cm (8 × 3 3/8 × 2 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Roger and J. Peter McCormick Endowments

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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