After enjoying tremendous early success in the United States, in 1921 Paul Manship moved to Europe. He eventually settled with his family in Paris, where he established his home and studio on rue du Val de Grace, where they resided until 1926. During this time in France, Manship completed numerous commissions for portraits and medals and seven major works, including Indian Hunter and His Dog in 1926. (J. Conner and J. Rosenkranz, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture, Studio Works, p. 136).
This cast of Indian Hunter and His Dog, the second of two made in this large scale, was acquired in the late 1920s by William Welles Bosworth, an American architect living in France, and a close friend and occasional collaborator with the sculptor. For years Bosworth displayed the sculpture at his Paris home, Villa Marietta. According to a member of the Bosworth family, "after the Second World War the house became a place of pilgrimage for visiting Americans--diplomats, artists and academicians including Paul Manship and his family. Indian Hunter and his Dog was positioned close by the front door to the house at the end of a long avenue of chestnuts and came into full view as one approached the house." After the death of her husband, Mrs. Welles Bosworth sold the Villa and sent the bronze to her younger daughter, Audrey Veronica, who was by then married and living in Yorkshire, in the north of England.
The initial commission for Indian Hunter and His Dog came from the banker, Thomas Cochran, who had previously selected Manship for a sculpture commission at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. For their second major project, Cochran hired the artist to create a fountain group for St. Paul, Minnesota, the childhood home of both the sculptor and his patron. Created in memory of Cochran's father, the fountain was commissioned for a location in Cochran Park, near the Cochran family home.
In his book on his father's work, John Manship writes that his father "proposed a life-size figure of an Indian running with a dog at his side; it was to be set up in the center of a pool, encircled by four Canadian geese spouting water through their mouths. Manship had been doing sculpture of Indians, hunters, or Davids--partially nude young men with dogs at their sides--for over ten years, beginning with Spirit of the Chase. His habit was to keep working at a theme until he got it right and Indian Hunter and His Dog for St. Paul was the culmination of this sequence. The small version has always been one of his most popular pieces." (Paul Manship, New York, 1989, p.116)
Of Indian Hunter and His Dog, J. Connor and J. Rosenkranz make special mention of its importance in Manship's career: "originally commissioned as a life-size group for a park in Manship's hometown of St. Paul, [this work] was later produced in a 21-inch version and was one of the sculptor's most popular and widely recognized sculptures Indian Hunter and His Dog is a fluid subtly naturalistic work whose sophisticated triangular composition has much in common with the Diana and Actaeon groups. The group's counterbalanced forms and their forward thrust create a buoyant, light-footed feeling." (Rediscoveries in American Sculpture, Studio Works, p.138).
A high point of Manship's lifelong interest in Indian themes, this work, in its smaller version, graced Manship's dining room in New York, to which the artist returned in 1927. In his lifetime Manship often expressed his delight in this composition, adding that Indian Hunter and His Dog was his favorite sculpture because it reminded him of his boyhood amid the woods and streams of Saint Paul. (J. F. Hunter, et al, Paul Manship: Changing Taste in America, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1985, p.134)
A study in crayon for this work is in the collection of the Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul.