John J. Boyle
John Joseph Boyle
Indian Capturing an Eagle, 1905
Bronze, dark brown patina
Signed and numbered front base: JJ Boyle / 05
Dedicated rear left base: To my dear friend / Leslie W. Miller / From the author
Inscribed rear base: Roman Bronze Works N.Y. / N 5
18 ½ H. x 11 ¼ W. x 12 ½ D. inches
John Joseph Boyle was a Beaux-Arts sculptor known for his depictions of Indians and early modern man. Indian Capturing an Eagle was created during a time in which America was ready to romanticize the Native American civilization that they had formerly hated and feared. The country was ready to show its pride over the superiority of its governing system by contrasting it with the lawless savage ages of the past.
Boyle was born in New York and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After his father passed away, he started a career as a stonecutter to support his mother. In time he rose from a career as a stonecutter to stone carver all while studying art in the classes of Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy. In 1877, he had saved enough money to continue his study of the arts at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris where he stayed for three years. Upon his return, he was commissioned to sculpt a Native American Family at the behest of a prominent Chicago resident. To better understand and portray a Native American Family, Boyle visited the Ottawa tribe out West to study their habits and appearance.
The finished sculpture done for Chicago, “The Indian Family”, had such a powerful impact when shown in Philadelphia, that the city commissioned a similar piece called “Stone Age in America”. Boyle was at his best when rendering Native American subjects. Boyle went on to create portrait busts as well as “Plato” and “Sir Francis Bacon” for the rotunda in the new Library of Congress.
Craven, Wayne. Sculpture in America. New York: Crowell, 1968. Pages 481-43. Print.
Broder, Patricia Janis., and Harold McCracken. Bronzes of the American West. New York: Harry N.
Abrams, 1974. Pages 37-41. Print.