Brown, Joe

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.