David Comes Home
This statue of King David has been on display at the Trenton campus of Congregation Brothers of Israel since the 1960’s. David was commissioned for the Trenton campus and he provides a visual connection to our former synagogue home. In Trenton, David stood over a seating area in a small nook off of the parking lot. Here in Newtown, David presides over a seating and garden area on our bucolic grounds. David is a welcome addition to our Newtown campus and his relocation reinforces that Newtown is now our home.
David is the work of Joe Brown, renowned American sculptor (1909-1985). The sculpture is bronze and stands approximately 7 feet tall. Artist, educator and athlete, Joe Brown was the pre-eminent sports sculptor of his time. The son of Russian immigrants, he grew up in the slums of South Philadelphia. A gifted athlete, he won a 1927 football scholarship to Temple University. Brown left Temple University before graduation, and briefly worked as a professional boxer. He made extra money as an artists’ model, and became interested in studying sculpture. Brown served a 7-year apprenticeship under University of Pennsylvania professor and sculptor R. Tait McKenzie. 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. Among Brown’s many public commissions were a series of heroic bronze sculptures of athletes that adorned the grounds of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Following Veterans Stadium‘s 2004 demolition, the following sculptures were moved to Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field:
- Punter (1974), Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Full-Swing (The Batter) (1974), Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Tackle (1974), Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Play at Second Base (1974), Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Another monumental sculpture of gymnasts dominates the entrance of the Temple University gymnasium. He created more than 400 works – statuettes, portrait busts, and sculptures. 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 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the National Art Museum of Sport and the Woodmere.
We are in very good company!
Whenever “the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1 Samuel 16:14)