Choosing of the Arrow

Henry Kirke Brown American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 761

In 1848, Brown earned a commission for a statuette representing an Indigenous subject from the American-Art Union, a New York organization that distributed art to subscribers by annual lottery. To prepare for Choosing of the Arrow, he traveled to Michigan’s Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. His visit coincided with a gathering of Chippewa and Ottawa peoples, and he spent much of his time sketching them. The resulting sculpture, an idealized male nude reaching to draw an arrow from the quiver strapped to his back, reveals Brown’s exacting attention to detail in the subtle handling of the ribcage and the ornamental topknot.

Choosing of the Arrow, Henry Kirke Brown (American, Leyden, Massachusetts 1814–1886 Newburgh, New York), Bronze, American

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