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 Joseph Brown  (1909 - 1985)

About: Joseph Brown
 

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/Pennsylvania      Known for: classical real sculpture-sport figure, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Joseph (Joe) Brown
from Auction House Records.
Boxers
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Abby M Taylor Fine Art:
Joseph Brown is a sculptor whose classical style hearkened back to the Greco-Roman and Renaissance eras.  Born in 1909 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brown was a natural athlete, attending Temple University on a scholarship for boxing.  He was first exposed to sculpture accidentally when he began modeling for artists at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  As an athlete, Brown used his intimate knowledge of the anatomy of the human body to begin creating his own sculptures.  The untrained artist gained the attention of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, to whom Brown then served a seven year apprenticeship.

In 1937, Joseph Brown became the head of the boxing program at Princeton University.  When it was discovered that he was also a budding sculptor, Brown was named resident Fellow of Sculpture at the University and began teaching sculpting classes.  In 1962, he stopped teaching boxing and became a full professor of Art.

Over the course of Brown's long and successful career, he created more than 400 sculptures.  Having begun his career as a boxer, it was this athleticism that allowed him to create sculptures that conveyed struggle, pain, and physical exertion so accurately. Just as in Ancient Greece the young male athletic body was idealized by Myron of Eleutherae (480-440 BC) with his work Discobolus, Brown too was able to express movement in the strained taut muscles of his bronze-cast bodies.

Memberships
National Sculpture Society
American Association of University Professors
American Federation of Teachers
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Artists Equity Association

Awards
Montclair Art Museum, medal, 1941
National Academy of Design, prize, 1944

Collections
MacCoy Memorial, Princeton, New Jersey
Leroy Mills Memorial
Rosengarten Trophy
Raycroft Trophy
Clarke Intra-mural Trophy
Firestone Library, Princeton, New Jersey
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art
Clarence Irvine Memorial, Collingwood, New Jersey
Lehigh University

Exhibitions
National Academy of Design, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1944
Art Institute of Chicago, 1941, 1942
Philadelphia Public Library, 1949-51
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1949
Firestone Library, Princeton, New Jersey
Woodmere Art Gallery, 1950
Exposition, Montreal, Canada, 1967

Biography from Newman Galleries:
Artist, educator and athlete, Joe Brown was the pre-eminent sports sculptor of his time.  Born in Philadelphia, he entered Temple University in 1927 on a football scholarship.  While still a student, he had a brief professional boxing career, but he soon abandoned the sport because of the inevitable physical battering.

He developed his interest in sculpture while modeling for Walter Hancock’s sculpture class at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  His first pieces were so accomplished they were included in the Academy’s annual exhibition.  After graduating from Temple University in 1929 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, he entered the studio of the noted sculptor, Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, as an apprentice.

In 1938, he joined the faculty of Princeton University as a boxing coach, and two years later, he became the Resident Fellow in Sculpture.   Brown continued coaching until 1962 at which time he became a full Professor of Art.   He taught sculpture until he retired in 1977.

Joe Brown created over four-hundred sculptures during his career, the bulk of which was comprised of famous and anonymous figures from the sports arena.  There was also a part of his oeuvre devoted to portrait studies and the study of the classic nude.

Among his many public commissions were a series of heroic bronze sculptures of athletes that adorn the grounds of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Another monumental sculpture of gymnasts dominates the entrance of the Temple University gymnasium.

His work is included in the permanent collections of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the New Jersey State Art Museum, the Kennedy Memorial Library and the Woodmere Art Museum, among many others.

Biography from The National Art Museum of Sport, Inc.:
Joseph Brown was an athlete, educator and sculptor.  One of Brown’s natural talents was boxing, and he began his boxing career at Temple University where he became the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) heavyweight champion.  He was lured away from the amateur realm by the money and fame of the professional boxing world, but his professional career was short-lived. 

A boxing injury resulted in Brown’s introduction to the world of art in 1929.  He became a model for a sculpting class and soon realized he was interested in sculpting.  That year he sculpted a boxer, his brother Harry and a ballet dancer.  All three works were accepted into the annual exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

After graduating from Temple University in 1931 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Brown apprenticed to sculptor, physician and educator Dr. R. Tait McKenzie.  He often warned Brown: “Don’t plan on making a living with your art, because if you try, you will be shaped by the fashions in art and cease to be an artist, because you will no longer work from the basis of personal experience.”  Brown heeded this advice and combined teaching and coaching with art.

In 1938, Brown was hired as Princeton University’s boxing coach.  During his tenure as boxing coach, the Academic Dean of Princeton University, Christian Gauss, noticed a bronze statue of the champion swimmer Duke Kahanomoku on a desk.  Guass was told the artist was Joe Brown – the boxing coach.  Brown had kept silent about his artistic talent, fearing that the mix of art and athletics would be viewed as a weakness. Instead, this mixture was viewed as a strength, and Brown became a Resident Fellow of Sculpture.

He became a full Professor of Art in 1962, and retired from Princeton in 1977. Throughout his career, Brown sculpted what he knew best—sports.  His works in the National Art Museum of Sport include Dropped, Antaeus, 1951; Boxer Bandaging His Hand; and Hurling. They were donated to the Museum by Dr. Louis A. Pyle, Jr., who had been a Princeton boxer and posed for Boxer Bandaging his Hand.  Veterans’ Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles, is the site of four 16-foot bronzes by Joe Brown.  He not only sculpted works of sport, but also famous people such as John Steinbeck and Robert Frost.

Biography from The National Art Museum of Sport, Inc.:
Athlete, educator and artist, Joe Brown was gifted in many areas.

One of Brown's natural talents was boxing. Brown began his boxing career at Temple University and became the Amateur Athletic Union's (AAU) heavyweight champion. He was lured away from the amateur realm by the money and fame of the professional boxing world. His professional career was short-lived.

A boxing injury resulted in Brown's introduction to the world of art in 1929. He became a model for a sculpting class and soon realized he was interested in sculpting. That year he sculpted a boxer, his brother Harry, and a ballet dancer. All three works were accepted into the annual exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

After graduating from Temple University in 1931 with a bachelor's degree in education, Brown apprenticed to sculptor, physician, and educator Dr. R. Tait McKenzie. McKenzie often warned Brown, "Don't plan on making a living with your art, because if you try, you will be shaped by the fashions in art and cease to be an artist, because you will no longer work from the basis of personal experience." Brown heeded this advice and combined teaching and coaching with art.

In 1938, Brown was hired as Princeton University's boxing coach.

During his tenure as boxing coach, the Academic Dean of Princeton University, Christian Gauss, noticed a bronze statue of the champion swimmer Duke Kahanomoku on a desk. Guass was told the artist was Joe Brown - the boxing coach. Brown had kept silent about his artistic talent, fearing that the mix of art and athletics would be viewed as a weakness. Instead, this mixture was viewed as a strength and Brown became a Resident Fellow of Sculpture. He became a full Professor of Art in 1962 and retired from Princeton in 1977.

Throughout his career, Brown sculpted what he knew best-sports. Some of his works are in the National Art Museum of Sport.

He not only sculpted works of sport, but also famous people such as John Steinbeck and Robert Frost.

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