Henry Hudson Kitson (American, 1863-1947)
Ulysses S. Grant
Signed and dated: 1902. Provenance: The Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, Virginia.
Born in England, Henry Hudson Kitson was one of America’s most noted public sculptors. After studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris he won a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889 and achieved increasing exposure at American expositions, most notably the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.
Out of this success, Kitson specialized in works of important American historical figures which can be found all over the East Coast. These include The Pilgrim Maiden in Plymouth, Massachusetts, The Minuteman in Lexington, Massachusetts, and numerous Civil War heroes in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that Kitson sculpted former President, Civil War General and renowned horseman, Ulysses S. Grant. Grant’s bravado, swagger, and horsemanship were indelibly stamped on the memories of the early twentieth-century American public and Kitson skillfully brings these characteristics to life in this sculpture. The horse bends it head and paws the ground, displaying its restless and fiery nature, while Grant, with his feet firmly planted, chest out, arms akimbo, and direct eye contact with the viewer, demonstrates his fearlessness and control.
Kitson ended his days in Tyringham, Massachusetts in 1947, leaving behind a long artistic legacy which ensured his renown as one of America’s most important sculptors.
Benezit. Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. (1999).