Neoclassical sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873) was raised on a farm in Vermont and as a young adult moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1828 he enrolled in classes at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts and at the urging of a local patron, moved to Washington D.C. to establish his artistic name and reputation. Powers left for Florence, Italy, in 1837, where he remained for the rest of his life; he created his most celebrated sculptures, The Greek Slave and Fisher Boy, whilst abroad.
Powers began work on the full-length Fisher Boy in 1843 and this bust variation, with extended shoulders, was first modeled between 1843 and 1844. A plaster version of the bust offered here is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.